Astronomers have discovered a small black hole beyond the Milky Way, which is a significant discovery.
After a ‘Sherlock Holmes-style’ study, scientists discovered a small infant black hole lurking in the NGC 1850 star cluster, born little over 100 million years ago – hardly much time in cosmic terms.
After what scientists described as a Sherlock Holmes-style quest for the 100-million-year-old creation, the black hole was discovered tucked in star cluster NGC 1850.
The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Bavaria, Germany, was utilized to comb space beyond our Galaxy for the unexplained region of spacetime.
According to Space.com, the black hole was located near the Large Magellanic Cloud, roughly 160,000 light-years from Earth.
They stated: “Telescopes can’t observe black holes directly since they absorb all wavelengths of light.
“However, every black hole will leave a trail: for example, its gravity will affect the movements of things in its vicinity, which telescopes can investigate.
“Now, astronomers have discovered a black hole in a cluster just outside the Milky Way, in search of one such clue.”
It’s the first time this technology has been used to find a black hole outside of our own Galaxy.
Liverpool Sara Saracino, an astrophysicist at John Moores University, said black holes are notoriously difficult to discover since they can’t be viewed directly.
“We are staring at every single star in this cluster with a magnifying glass in one hand, attempting to uncover some evidence for the presence of black holes but without seeing them directly,” she explained.
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“The result displayed here represents just one of the sought criminals, but once you’ve located one, you’re well on your way to finding many more, in various clusters.”
The complete study will be published in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notices in the near future.