Galactic Needle

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An international research team found evidence of the first-ever dormant black hole located outside the Milky Way galaxy, Sky News reported.

They explained in their study that the peculiar black hole was born from a star that disappeared without any sign of a powerful explosion. Usually, stellar-mass black holes form when massive stars die and collapse under their own gravity, hence one found in the absence of any trace of an explosion is like “a needle in a haystack,” researchers said.

Named VFTS 243, the rare black hole is located in the Tarantula Nebula, part of the Large Magellanic Cloud, our nearest galactic neighbor.

It is at least nine times the mass of our Sun and orbits around a hot, blue star weighing 25 times the Sun’s mass, which makes it part of a binary system, the researchers explained

Unlike the usual suspects, dormant black holes do not emit high levels of X-ray radiation, which is normally how they are detected.

“It is incredible that we hardly know of any dormant black holes, given how common astronomers believe them to be,” commented co-author Pablo Marchant.

The study was conducted by a group of astronomers called the “black hole police,” known for constantly debunking new discoveries of gravitational singularities.

“For the first time, our team got together to report on a black hole discovery, instead of rejecting one,” said lead author Tomer Shenar.

Shenar and his team said the find has “enormous implications for the origin of black hole mergers in the cosmos.”

They hope it will help other astronomers discover similar stellar-mass black holes orbiting massive stars: They believe thousands exist both in our galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds.

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