In the opinion of astronomers, the discovery opens the door to many other discoveries, and will help to reveal how these mysterious objects originated and evolved.
- Scientists have observed a young galaxy outside our galaxy.
- Due to the gravitational influence on the motion of the stellar companion, they discovered the presence of a black hole in it.
- Scientists have for the first time discovered a stellar black hole outside the Milky Way.
- This method is important in the search for black holes hidden inside and outside our galaxy.
Not all black holes are the same. Some are called supermassive because they contain millions to billions of solar masses – they are very visible, usually lying in the center of galaxies, but their origin remains a matter of debate.
On the other hand, we have black holes in the galaxy mass: usually five to several times the mass of the Sun. Everyone knows their origin (the collapse of the big stars), but they are more difficult to find.
Especially if they are outside our galaxy – a part of a team of European scientists has succeeded a part of such a Hussar. Research Received the Monthly Notice Scientific Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Young and full of “short-lived” stars
NGC 1850 is a galaxy 168,000 light-years from the Sun. It is part of the larger Magellanic Cloud, and in the sky with the Space Telescope in the Messier constellation.
This is a very strange group of stars. It weighs about 40,000 suns, but “measures” only 16 light-years. Also, it’s double: the other is about two hundred light years away from the main group of stars. Surprisingly, it is very young, about 100 million years old.
From a cosmic point of view, this is less than a moment.
NGC 1850 is rich in giants. Therefore, they are ideal candidates for the formation of black holes. Since giant stars usually only “live” briefly, the cluster is a great opportunity to explore the early stages of the evolution of these cosmic bodies.
But finding “small” black holes is not so easy. Especially outside our galaxy.
A team of scientists led by scientists from John Moores University in Liverpool used data collected over two years using the MUSE instrument VLT (very large telescope) in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
“MUSE allowed us to observe very dense galaxies, such as the centers of clusters, and to analyze the brightness of each star near the center,” explains study co-author Sebastian Kaman.
“We got information about thousands of stars in a single shot, which is 10 times the size we can get on any other device,” he adds.
Thanks to this procedure, team members noticed the unusual movement of the star, which points to a black hole in its vicinity.
Data from other instruments, including the Hubble Space Telescope, later allowed scientists to measure the mass of a black hole, confirming a promising discovery.
The lead author of the study, Sarah Sarasinova, compares the research process to the search for a detective.
“Like Sherlock Holmes, who observes based on the mistakes made by a group of criminals, we look at each star in this dome with a magnifying glass in our hand and try to find evidence of black holes without paying direct attention,” said the scientist.
In her opinion, current research has so far only “convicted” someone who is investigating “criminals”. “But when you find one, you’re on your way to finding others, even in other star clusters,” Saracen said.
A rare invention
The first “culprit” was found to be an object 11 times the mass of the Sun. He was deceived by the gravitational pull of a star five times the mass of its orbit around the sun.
Astronomers have previously seen black holes of “star mass” in extraterrestrial galaxies. They did this by observing X-rays of matter falling into the black hole or gravitational waves caused by the collision of black holes.
However, most star-mass black holes do not reveal this way. They can only be detected in a more challenging way by observing the bodies that are affected by the movement of gravity. Like the research of Saras and her colleagues.
They paved the way for more discoveries
The method used by Sarah Saras and team will lead to even bigger black holes.
“Every successful discovery is important for our understanding of star clusters and their black holes,” said study co-author Mark Giles.
Scientists are particularly promising to find young black holes, observations that reveal the secrets of the growth of these mysterious objects.
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