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Space & Astronomy

Rogue stellar-mass black hole detected for the first time

By T.K. Randall
February 7, 2022 · Comment icon 11 comments

Roaming black holes do exist. Image Credit: NASA / Alain Riazuelo
Astronomers have discovered the first known stellar-mass black hole roaming solo through space.
Situated far out in the Milky Way galaxy around 5,150 light years away from Earth, the rogue black hole is the first of its kind ever identified.

Most of the black holes that have been discovered so far have been situated in binary star systems, mainly because their interactions with their partners had made them easier to detect.

While physicists had long expected stellar-mass black holes to also exist in isolation, detecting one against the empty blackness of space had proven a challenge.

Now though, with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope and a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, it has finally been possible to detect one of these objects directly.

"We now know that isolated black holes exist," said study lead author Kailash Sahu of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
"And they have masses similar to the black holes found in binaries.

"And there must be lots of them out there."

The newly discovered black hole is believed to be approximately 7.1 times the mass of the Sun.

"It took two years of planning followed by six years of observing with Hubble, but it was very satisfying to see the incredible results," said Sahu.

"It was immediately clear as daylight that it's a black hole, there was nothing else that could cause the deflections we measured."

Source: Space.com | Comments (11)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 2 years ago
The article made it sound like it was at a great distance from planet Earth, 5,000+ LY's away. But that distance is only 5% the width of our galaxy (or so). Put in that light makes it sound a lot closer and a little more ominous, eh? 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Damien99 2 years ago
I have no ide what you mean
Comment icon #4 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 2 years ago
In other words, it is floating by our neighborhood.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Damien99 2 years ago
Well that what I meant by at that speed hopefully it’s not coming towards us 
Comment icon #6 Posted by joc 2 years ago
Okay but wait, it is moving at 100,000 mph.  but relative to what?  Our sun is moving at 440,000 mph and we are moving at 60,000 mph...but relative to what? If we want to describe the motion of a star like our Sun among all the other stars, we run up against a problem. We usually define motion by comparing the moving object to something at rest. A car moves at 60 miles per hour relative to a reference post attached to the Earth, such as the highway sign, for example. But if all the stars in the Galaxy are moving, what could be the “reference post” to which we can compare its motion? Astronomer... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Damien99 2 years ago
What I am curious about is @ 5100 light years away at that speed would take what around 5100x37200 since a light is is 37,200 human years correct 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Damien99 2 years ago
Hoping my math is getting better at this lol
Comment icon #9 Posted by joc 2 years ago
In the first place, no one said the black hole is moving toward the earth.   In the second place, we don't measure light speed and distance in a concept of 'human years'.   What  you need to calculate is 5100 light years traveling at 100,000mph.   I don't think you can do that.  I don't even think you could calculate how many miles you would travel in one light year.  So don't worry about your math getting better.  It isn't.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Damien99 2 years ago
I am confused cause the reading have have been doing to learn basic astronomy stated 1 light year is equivalent to 37k human years. So if an object is 5k away treavelling at the speed of light would it not be 5k times 37k . So travelling 5k light years at 100000k if it’s now 5000x37000 what is the calculation to get how long would take to travel the 5k light years 
Comment icon #11 Posted by joc 2 years ago
I have no idea.  

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