Author Topic: Study hints at the existence of the closest black holes to Earth in the Hyades star cluster  (Read 395 times)

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Offline Kamaji

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Study hints at the existence of the closest black holes to Earth in the Hyades star cluster

Black holes are one of the most mysterious and fascinating phenomena in the Universe

Date:  September 8, 2023
Source:  University of Barcelona
Summary:  A new article hints at the existence of several black holes in the Hyades cluster -- the closest open cluster to our solar system -- which would make them the closest black holes to Earth ever detected.

A paper published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society hints at the existence of several black holes in the Hyades cluster -- the closest open cluster to our solar system -- which would make them the closest black holes to Earth ever detected. The study results from a collaboration between a group of scientists led by Stefano Torniamenti, from the University of Padua (Italy), with the significant participation of with Mark Gieles, ICREA professor at the Faculty of Physics, the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB) and the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), and Friedrich Anders (ICCUB-IEEC).

Specifically, the finding took place during a research stay of the expert Stefano Torniamenti at the ICCUB, one of the research units that make up the IEEC.

Black holes in the Hyades star cluster?

Since their discovery, black holes have been one of the most mysterious and fascinating phenomena in the Universe and have become the object of study for researchers all over the world. This is particularly true for small black holes because they have been observed during the detection of gravitational waves. Since the detection of the first gravitational waves in 2015, experts have observed many events that correspond to mergers of low-mass black hole pairs.

For the published study, the team of astrophysicists used simulations that track the motion and evolution of all the stars in the Hyades -- located at a distance from the Sun of about 45 parsecs or 150 light-years -- to reproduce their current state.

Open clusters are loosely bound groups of hundreds of stars that share certain properties such as age and chemical characteristics. The simulation results were compared with the actual positions and velocities of the stars in the Hyades, which are now known precisely from observations made by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Gaia satellite.

"Our simulations can only simultaneously match the mass and size of the Hyades if some black holes are present at the centre of the cluster today (or until recently)," says Stefano Torniamenti, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Padua and first author of the paper.

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Source:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/09/230908130001.htm