Scientists claim to have discovered a new method to find black holes

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This brand new method does not focus on the black hole itself, but on the reactions to its presence.

Black holes are fascinating objects. Hypothetical according to Albert Einstein, they are today a staple of astronomical science and govern the movements of many planets, even galaxies. But in the end, if the general public has a holistic view of what a black hole is (“something that absorbs everything and nothing can escape”), there are all kinds and sizes. . And depending on their size and their movement, they do not play the same role in the universe at all.

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Indeed, the largest known black holes, known as supermassive, are in reality gravity giants, which are often placed in the center of galaxies, sucking stars by the thousands. But while this is the best-known representation of a black hole, it is far from being there alone. Invisible to astronomers, black holes are very difficult to spot and scientists must find the medium they are disturbing before they can deduce the position of a black hole.

All the secret is in the eye sockets

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Only the curvature of light, or even the strange orbit of a star can indicate the presence of a black hole, sometimes tiny of just a few solar masses. The study of the orbit of stars around these black holes is a very recent indirect detection method, but it already seems to have borne fruit. Indeed, researchers have succeeded in identifying black holes beyond our galaxy, in the nearby Magella Cloud.

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The scientists’ discovery was detailed in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. They explain that they have spotted the suspicious movements of a star, which ended up revealing the existence of a small black hole. Located about 160,000 light years from us, NGC 1850 (that’s its name) was found in the star cluster of the same name.

A discovery that encourages scientists to continue their research in star clusters in areas generally little studied by black hole researchers. For Sara Saracino, astrophysicist at John Moores University in Liverpool, it will now be necessary for sciatica to scrutinize these star clusters in order to uncover their least secrets.

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