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Hubble Spies Stellar ‘Ghost’ Wandering the Milky Way Galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a lone object wandering across our Milky Way Galaxy for the first time — the unseen, ghostly remains of a once-bright star. When stars that are as big as our sun die, they explode in a supernova, and the leftover core is crushed by gravity, generating a black hole.

The explosion may occasionally set the black hole in motion, sending it flying across the Galaxy like a pinball. By rights, astronomers should be aware of a large number of roaming black holes, but they are nearly undetectable in space and hence difficult to discover. Astronomers estimate that our Galaxy has 100 million free-floating black holes. Researchers believe they’ve found such an item now. The discovery was found after six years of monitoring, and scientists were even able to determine the enormous cosmic object’s precise mass.

The black hole lies 5,000 light years distant, in the Carina-Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. As a result of this discovery, the study team calculated that the nearest isolated black hole to Earth may be only 80 light-years distant. Black holes’ extraordinarily powerful gravitational fields bend space around them, generating circumstances that may deflect and intensify starlight aligned behind them. Gravitational lensing is the name for this phenomena. Ground-based telescopes search the Milky Way’s millions of stars for this transient brightening, which indicates that a huge object has passed between us and the star.

Hubble is in an ideal position to follow up on these findings. The mass of the item was determined by two distinct teams of experts analysing the data. The Astrophysical Journal has approved both research for publication. The black hole weighs seven times the mass of our sun, according to a team lead by astronomer Kailash Sahu, a Hubble instrument scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

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