Astronomers Are Baffled by Newfound Star Cluster Teeming With Black Holes

Astronomers Are Baffled by Newfound Star Cluster Teeming With Black Holes

Diving thousands of light-years away into the Cosmos means almost nothing for the vastness of our physical reality, but for us humans, it can provide true wonders. One recent proof is the NGC 6397 star cluster that is surrounded by stellar-mass black holes, according to

Scientists are even optimistic that the discovery could provide more answers regarding the formation of larger black holes. Furthermore, there’s a chance that globular clusters could receive more interest from gravitational wave astronomy.

Located at 7,800 light-years away

NGC 6397 is located about 7,800 light-years away from us, and it shows evidence of the presence of intermediate-mass black holes, which is surprising for astronomers.

SciTech Daily uploaded a video showcasing an artist’s impression of the black hole concentration from NGC 6397:

The small black holes from this animation are too small in reality for any existing or planned telescope to observe them directly. The main prediction is that the core-collapsed globular cluster could host over 20 black holes.

Eduardo Vitral, an astronomer of the Paris Institute of Astrophysics in France, declared:

We found very strong evidence for an invisible mass in the dense core of the globular cluster,

But we were surprised to find that this extra mass is not ‘point-like’ (that would be expected for a solitary massive black hole) but extended to a few percent of the size of the cluster.

Although it would be a very dangerous space region to explore up-close, NGC 6397 is worth adding to the list of destinations for the far future of mankind. Who knows what planets teeming with life it may harbour, or planets where we can settle a new home. But unfortunately, those 7, 800 light-years are way too much, for the moment, even for the fastest rockets on Earth.

The new research was published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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