Black holes may be more common in star clusters than previously believed
Washington – Researchers have found evidence of another black hole in a globular cluster known as M62.
Laura Chomiuk, team member and MSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy said that black holes really may be common in globular clusters.
Black holes are stars that have died, collapsed into themselves and now have such a strong gravitational field that not even light can escape from them.
The globular cluster M62 is located in the constellation Ophiuchus, about 22,000 light years from Earth.
Until recently, astronomers had assumed that the black holes did not occur in globular clusters, which are some of the oldest and densest collections of stars in the universe.
Stars are packed together a million times more closely than in the neighborhood of our sun.
There are so many stars in such a condensed area that they often interact with one another. Massive black holes would have the most violent encounters, “sling-shotting” each other out of the cluster.
Last year’s discovery of a pair of black holes in a cluster was especially surprising, Chomiuk said. It had been thought that if two black holes dwelled at the center, they would regularly encounter one another until one shoved the other out.
The study has been published in the recent issue of Astrophysical Journal.