Astronomers "Dark" Free Floating Black Hole

Black holes are invisible unless in a star binary or surrounded by an accretion disc.

Astronomers seek for stellar-sized black holes by gravitational microlensing, where the black hole illuminates and twists starlight toward the galactic centre.

A team led by UC Berkeley astronomers has identified what may be a free-floating black hole by observing gravitational microlensing of a distant star.

The team thinks that the invisible object is 1.6 to 4.4 times the sun's mass. The object could be a neutron star, not a black hole, say astronomers. 

Whether a black hole or neutron star, the item is the first dark stellar remnant unpaired with another star.

This is the first free-floating black hole or neutron star

Determining how many of these compact objects populate the Milky Way galaxy will help astronomers understand the evolution of stars 

The study will appear in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The investigation includes four other microlensing occurrences not caused by a black hole

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