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Rogue black hole discovered zipping through galaxy for first time


The first rogue black hole may have just been discovered zipping around the galaxy, and it’s only 5000 light-years away from Earth.

A team of astrophysicists claim they’ve detected an isolated stellar-mass black hole around the bulge in the centre of the Milky Way.

Scientists were tipped off to its existence when it passed in front of a background star — the black hole’s extreme gravity bent the light of the star.

This NASA illustration depicts a solitary black hole in space, with its gravity warping the view of stars and galaxies in the background.
This NASA illustration depicts a solitary black hole in space, with its gravity warping the view of stars and galaxies in the background. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/ ESA/Gaia/DPAC)

The find was made possible with NASA’s Hubble Telescope, which was used over a six-year study period.

Researchers estimate the isolated black hole is about 7.1 times the mass of the sun, and is moving at a speed of 45 kilometres per second — or 162,000 kilometres per hour.

This suggests it received a kick from the supernova explosion that birthed it.

Taken in 2019, this is the first photograph of a black hole. It shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around it. (EPA)

“We report the first unambiguous detection and mass measurement of an isolated stellar-mass black hole,” the team, lead by astrophysicist Kailash Sahu, wrote.

“We show that the lens emits no detectable light, which, along with having a mass higher than is possible for a white dwarf or neutron star, confirms its black hole nature.”

Black holes are born “from the remnants of a large star that dies in a supernova explosion,” NASA explains.

'Tree trunk' crater snapped on Mars. Patterns inside this ice-rich crater reveal details of Mars history

‘Tree trunk’ crater snapped on Mars

They have a gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape.

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