Twin black holes discovered in ancient cluster of Milky Way

In an unexpected finding, astronomers have discovered two dense black holes inside an ancient cluster of stars in the Milky Way.

Research describes the detection of two black holes that are about 10 to 20 times heavier than Sun in the globular cluster named M22.

Black holes, so dense that even light can’t escape them, are what is left when a massive star reaches the end of its life and collapses in on itself.

Dr James Miller-Jones, from the Curtin University node of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said the discovery of two black holes in the same cluster was a complete surprise.

All the theory up to now says that should not happen in a globular cluster that is 12 billion years old.

“The study was originally searching for just one larger black hole within the cluster of hundreds of thousands of stars which, when viewed from the naked eye, resembles a hazy round ‘puff’ of light,” Miller-Jones said in a statement.

“Simulations of how globular clusters evolve show many black holes are created early in a cluster’s history.

“The many black holes then sink towards the middle of the cluster where they begin a chaotic dance leading to most being thrown out of the cluster until only one surviving black hole remains.

“We were searching for one large black hole in the middle of the cluster, but instead found two smaller black holes a little way out from the centre, which means all the theory and simulations need refinement,” he said.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s