New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Astronomers have discovered a small, stellar-mass Blackhole outside our very own Galaxy the Milky Way. The Blackhole is said to be hiding in a star cluster named NGC 1850, which is one of the brightest star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The black hole is 160,000 light-years away from Earth and is estimated to be about 11 times the mass of our Sun.

NGC 1850 is an unusual double star cluster that lies in the bar of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbor galaxy of our own Milky Way. NGC 1850 is the second brightest star cluster in the LMC and contains thousands of stars.

Astronomers have used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, to locate the hidden Blackhole. During their observation, they notices a star with a peculiar motion among the star cluster, where other stars weren’t behaving the same way. Further investigation revealed the gravitational influence came from a stellar-mass black hole.

A specialized instrument on the VLT, the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) allowed the researchers to observe the very crowded star cluster and analyze the light of every single star in the vicinity.

First, astronomers have used the detection method to reveal the presence of a black hole outside of our galaxy. They mentioned that this method can help locate other black holes hidden in the Milky Way and other galaxies too.

“The vast majority can only be unveiled dynamically,” says Stefan Dreizler, one of the team members who contributed to the new paper, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. “When they form a system with a star, they will affect its motion in a subtle but detectable way, so we can find them with sophisticated instruments.”

Normally, astronomers detect Black Holes using the X-ray glow of the holes they emit when they swallow matter, or from the gravitational waves generated as black holes collide with one another or with neutron stars. But, the smaller ones do not emit any glow.

“We are looking at every single star in this cluster with a magnifying glass in one hand trying to find some evidence for the presence of black holes but without seeing them directly,” said Sara Saracino from the Astrophysics Research Institute of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, who led the research.

ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope in Chile, set to start operating later this decade, will allow astronomers to find even more hidden black holes.

Posted By: Ashita Singh