ESO: Lonely Black Hole Hiding in Giant Star Cluster

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bystander
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ESO: Lonely Black Hole Hiding in Giant Star Cluster

Post by bystander » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:26 pm

Odd Behaviour of Star Reveals Lonely
Black Hole Hiding in Giant Star Cluster

ESO Science Release | VLT | MUSE | 2018 Jan 17

Astronomers using ESO’s MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the Sun — the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster and the first found by directly detecting its gravitational pull. This important discovery impacts on our understanding of the formation of these star clusters, black holes, and the origins of gravitational wave events.

Globular star clusters are huge spheres of tens of thousands of stars that orbit most galaxies. They are among the oldest known stellar systems in the Universe and date back to near the beginning of galaxy growth and evolution. More than 150 are currently known to belong to the Milky Way.

One particular cluster, called NGC 3201 and situated in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sails), has now been studied using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. An international team of astronomers has found that one of the stars [1] in NGC 3201 is behaving very oddly — it is being flung backwards and forwards at speeds of several hundred thousand kilometres per hour, with the pattern repeating every 167 days [2]. ...

A Detached Stellar-Mass Black Hole Candidate in the Globular Cluster NGC 3201 - Benjamin Giesers et al
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Ann
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Re: ESO: Lonely Black Hole Hiding in Giant Star Cluster

Post by Ann » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:35 am

That's really interesting - a four(?)-solar-mass black hole!

Ann
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Re: ESO: Lonely Black Hole Hiding in Giant Star Cluster

Post by rstevenson » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:09 pm

Ann wrote:That's really interesting - a four(?)-solar-mass black hole!

Ann
And not the smallest. A 3.8 M☉ black hole was found about a decade ago. One article I've read says they could be as small as about 3.2 M☉, that being about the maximum mass of a neutron star.

Rob

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Re: ESO: Lonely Black Hole Hiding in Giant Star Cluster

Post by bystander » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:23 pm

rstevenson wrote:
And not the smallest. A 3.8 M☉ black hole was found about a decade ago. One article I've read says they could be as small as about 3.2 M☉, that being about the maximum mass of a neutron star.

A recent study places the maximum mass of a neutron star at about 2.16 M☉
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
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