Home > Astronomy, Black Holes, General Astronomy > Surprising Black-Hole Discovery Changes Picture Of Globular Star Clusters

Surprising Black-Hole Discovery Changes Picture Of Globular Star Clusters


An unexpected discovery by astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) is forcing scientists to rethink their understanding of the environment in globular star clusters, tight-knit collections containing hundreds of thousands of stars.

The astronomers used the VLA to study a globular cluster called Messier 22 (M22), a group of stars more than 10,000 light-years from Earth. They hoped to find evidence for a rare type of black hole in the cluster’s center. They wanted to find what scientists call an intermediate-mass black hole, more massive than those a few or more times the Sun’s mass, but smaller than the supermassive black holes found at the cores of galaxies.

“We didn’t find what we were looking for, but instead found something very surprising — two smaller black holes,” said Laura Chomiuk, of Michigan State University and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. “That’s surprising because most theorists said there should be at most one black hole in the cluster,” she added.

Full Story: http://www.nrao.edu/pr/2012/m22/

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  1. January 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm

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