Scientists have found a black hole outside the Milky Way by tracing how it affects a nearby star. This method will be useful for finding these superdense objects in our galaxy.
Using the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have discovered a small black hole outside the Milky Way. They studied how it affects the movement of a star in its immediate vicinity. For the first time, this detection method was used to search for a black hole outside our galaxy. As noted by the scientists who conducted the study, it will be useful for finding hidden black holes in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, as well as help to understand how these mysterious objects form and develop.
The black hole was discovered in the star cluster NGC 1850. It is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighboring galaxy in the Milky Way, about 160 thousand light-years from Earth. The black hole turned out to be 11 times more massive than the Sun. It was discovered by the gravitational effect it exerted on a companion star (five times more massive than the Sun). For comparison, the mass of a supermassive black hole, according to various estimates, ranges from two to five million solar.
In the past, astronomers have found such small black holes in other galaxies by capturing X-rays emitted when matter is absorbed, or by tracking gravitational waves that occur when black holes collide with each other or with neutron stars.
However, this method is not always suitable, often a black hole can only be detected dynamically. When it forms a system with a star, it will affect its movement. It can be detected with sophisticated instruments.
The research results are published by the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.