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Astronomers find 100 black holes in Palomar 5

8 Jul 2021, 14:00 UTC
Astronomers find 100 black holes in Palomar 5
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100 black holes
The globular star cluster Palomar 5 has always been strange. The cluster is one of the “fluffiest” known, It’s less massive than other globulars and has a greater distance between its stars. It also has two long streamers of stars flowing away from the cluster. And now astronomers have found a new quirk of Palomar 5: it’s hiding more than 100 black holes at its center. A team of astronomers announced July 1, 2021, that this unusual globular cluster has about three times as many black holes as expected. Some 20% of the cluster’s mass comes from black holes. These astronomers said that, one day, the stars will be gone, and nothing will remain but the black holes.
The scientists published their study on July 5, 2021, in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Astronomy.
Palomar 5 is a globular cluster, a huge ball of stars that orbits in the halo of the Milky Way. Discovered by Walter Baade in 1950, Palomar 5 lies 65,000 light-years away from us in the direction of the constellation Serpens. This globular cluster is ancient – more than 10 billion years old – because it formed at the same time as the galaxy. ...

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