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Astronomers believe they have discovered the “invisible” black hole for the first time

Astronomers are famous for taking the first direct image of a black hole in 2019, thanks to the material that glows in its presence. However, many black holes are actually almost impossible to detect. It seems that another team using the Hubble Space Telescope has finally discovered something that no one has ever seen: a completely invisible black hole.Research that has been done Post online Submitted for publication at Astrophysical JournalNot yet peer-reviewed.


Black holes remain after a large star dies and its core collapses. They are incredibly dense and so strong in gravity that nothing, including light, moves fast enough to escape them. Astronomers are keen on studying black holes because they teach us a lot about how stars die. By measuring the mass of a black hole, we can see what was happening at the last moment of the star when the star’s core collapsed and the outer layer was released.

Black holes may appear invisible by definition. In the end, black holes gained their name due to their ability to trap light. But thanks to their strong gravity, they can detect them through the way they interact with other objects. Hundreds of small black holes have been detected by the way they interact with other stars.

There are two different approaches to such detection.of X-ray binary— A star and a black hole orbit a shared center while producing X-rays — The gravitational field of a black hole can attract matter from its peers. The material goes around the black hole and is heated by friction. High-temperature substances shine brightly with X-ray light, and black holes become visible. After that, it is sucked into the black hole and disappears. It can also detect a pair of black holes as they coalesce, spiral inward, and emit a short flash of gravitational waves that are ripples in space-time.

However, there are many rogue black holes drifting in space without any interaction, and they are difficult to detect. That’s a problem. Because if you can’t detect isolated black holes, you can’t know how they were formed and the death of the star from which they came.

New dark horizon

To discover such an invisible black hole, a team of scientists had to combine the two types of observations over the years. This striking achievement promises a new way to find isolated black holes in previously elusive classes.

First image of a black hole.Credits: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration and more

Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicted that giant objects would bend light as they passed through them. That is, light that passes very close to an invisible black hole is bent in the same way as light that passes through a lens.This is called Gravitational lens, And can be found when the foreground object aligns with the background object and bends its light. This method has already been used to study everything from galaxy clusters to planets around other stars.

The author of this new study combined two types of gravitational lens observations in the search for black holes. It began with them suddenly magnifying the light from distant stars, making them appear temporarily brighter before returning to normal. However, they could not see the foreground object causing the enlargement due to the process of gravitational lenses. It suggested that the object could be a lonely black hole that I had never seen before. The problem was that it could have been a faint star.

It took a lot of work to determine if it was a black hole or a faint star. That’s where the second type of gravitational lens observation comes in. The author repeatedly took images in Hubble for six years to measure how much the stars seemed to move. Because the light was diverted.

Ultimately, this allows you to calculate the mass and distance of the object that caused the lens effect.They found that it weighs about seven times as much as our Sun and is located at about 5,000. Light It sounds far, but it’s actually relatively close. We should be able to see its size and the stars near it. Not visible to us, they concluded that it must be an isolated black hole.

Making many of those observations at an observatory like Hubble is not easy. Telescopes are very popular and there is a lot of competition in that era. And given the difficulty of seeing such objects, you might think that you’re less likely to find them. Fortunately, we are at the beginning of an astronomical revolution.This is due to a new generation of facilities, including ongoing facilities Gaia SurveyAnd the future Vera Rubin Observatory When Nancy Grace Roman Space TelescopeAll of these repeatedly measure most of the sky with unprecedented detail.

It will be huge for all areas of astronomy. By measuring so many skies on a regular basis with high accuracy, it is possible to collectively investigate things that change on a very short time scale. Study asteroids, exploding stars called supernovae, planets around other stars, and much more in new ways.

When it comes to searching for invisible black holes, it becomes routine because you can quickly find so many black holes instead of celebrating finding just one.It can fill the gap in our understanding of death Performer And the creation of a black hole.

Finally, the galaxy is invisible Black Hole I’m trying to find it much harder to hide.


The first floating black hole found roaming the interstellar space


For more information:
An isolated stellar black hole detected by the astrometric microlens method, arXiv: 2201.13296 [astro-ph.SR] arxiv.org/abs/2201.13296

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Astronomers believe they have discovered the “invisible” black hole for the first time

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