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Mysterious Discovery: Star Cluster Reveals Hundreds of Undiscovered Black Holes in the Universe

Sep 09, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

The prospect of hundreds and hundreds of black holes pooling together sounds terrifying as much as it seems impossible. Yet, a recent discovery by scientists revealed that there is indeed a globular cluster of stars that could host several hundreds of black holes. It's a spectacle and the achievement of the researchers lie not just in what they were able to discover, but how they did it.

Invisibility Cloaks Over Black Holes

According to a report from Science Daily, it was previously believed that getting a "glimpse" of black holes wasn't possible.

Miklos Peuten, lead author of the study by the University of Surrey published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, explained the process of the team to get over this hump as they mapped the globular cluster known as NGC 6101.

"Due to their nature, black holes are impossible to see with a telescope, because no photons can escape," he said. "In order to find them we look for their gravitational effect on their surroundings. Using observations and simulations we are able to spot the distinctive clues to their whereabouts and therefore effectively 'see' the un-seeable."

New Discoveries on the Life of Stars, Black Holes

Although the scientific community used to believe that practically the entire black hole are bound to be expelled from the parent cluster, the black holes in NGC 6101 were observed to form in the gravitational collapse of stars at the end of their lives and they're a few times bigger than the sun. Just the fact that there are hundreds of blackholes in the cluster is enough to dispute old theories.

"Our work is intended to help answer fundamental questions related to dynamics of stars and black holes, and the recently observed gravitational waves," University of Surrey's professor and co-author Mark Gieles explained. "These are emitted when two black holes merge, and if our interpretation is right, the cores of some globular clusters may be where black hole mergers take place."

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