International study suggests a massive black hole exists in the Sword of Orion

Nov 01, 2012
International study suggests a massive black hole exists in the Sword of Orion
Overview image of the Orion Nebula with the star cluster at its centre. The possible black hole would reside somewhere between the four bright stars which mark the centre of the star cluster. These stars form the famous Trapezium of the Orion Nebula Cluster. Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Space Telescope

(Phys.org)—An international team of astrophysicists, including UQ's Dr Holger Baumgardt, has shed light on the long-standing mystery of the binding force behind a cluster of unruly and rapidly swirling stars located in the famous Sword of Orion.

Using modelling programs, the team found these fast-moving stars, visible in the and known as the Orion Nebula Cluster, were potentially held together through the powerful of a black hole up to 200 times the .

Formed one or two million years ago, the Orion Nebula Cluster has long been known for its strange properties.

The stars in the cluster move at a rapid speed, as if the whole cluster was flying apart.

Compared to the number of low-mass (light-weight) stars that can be seen in the cluster, the number of high-mass (heavy-weight) stars are too few and especially rapidly-moving.

"These properties have been a puzzle to astronomers, given all the knowledge that they have about how stars are formed and distributed," Dr Baumgardt, of UQ's School of Mathematics and Physics, said.

Dr Baumgardt is co-author of the study that was recently published in The .

The team set up a of the Orion Nebula Cluster representing a tight cloud of inter-stellar gas containing the right combination of heavy and light stars.

Researchers then went on to calculate the movement of these stars in the system.

"In our model, we had to invent a new method of dealing with the gas and the way it is driven out from the cluster by the intensely radiating high-mass stars," said the study's lead author, Dr Ladislav Subr, of Charles University in Prague.

Dr Baumgardt said such cluster models were a challenge to compute due to the large number of calculations that had to be made.

The computations showed that, as the gas was being driven outwards, the cluster began to expand, explaining why most stars move rapidly.

Many of the heavy stars were sling-shot out of the cluster, while some were driven into the centre of the cluster and collided with the most massive star there.

At some point, this massive star became unstable and imploded into a black hole, with a mass about 200 times larger than the sun.

"Our scenario neatly accounts for virtually all observed properties of the Orion Nebula Cluster, that is, its low number of high-mass stars, and its rapidly-moving central stars, and suggests that the massive stars near the centre of this cluster are bound by a black hole," Dr Subr said.

The team said that the finding had dramatic implications for our understanding of how massive form and how such rich star clusters hatch from their gaseous cocoons.

"Having such a massive black hole at our doorstep would be a dramatic chance for intense studies of these enigmatic objects," said co-author Professor Pavel Kroupa from the University of Bonn in Germany.

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More information: Catch me if you can: Is there a "runaway-mass" black hole in the Orion nebula cluster?, Astrophysical Journal, http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/757/1/37 , ArXiv PDF

Abstract
We investigate the dynamical evolution of the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) by means of direct N-body integrations. A large fraction of residual gas was probably expelled when the ONC formed, so we assume that the ONC was much more compact when it formed compared with its current size, in agreement with the embedded cluster radius-mass relation from Marks & Kroupa. Hence, we assume that few-body relaxation played an important role during the initial phase of evolution of the ONC. In particular, three-body interactions among OB stars likely led to their ejection from the cluster and, at the same time, to the formation of a massive object via "runaway" physical stellar collisions. The resulting depletion of the high-mass end of the stellar mass function in the cluster is one of the important points where our models fit the observational data. We speculate that the runaway-mass star may have collapsed directly into a massive black hole (M • 100 M ☉). Such a dark object could explain the large velocity dispersion of the four Trapezium stars observed in the ONC core. We further show that the putative massive black hole is likely to be a member of a binary system with 70% probability. In such a case, it could be detected either due to short periods of enhanced accretion of stellar winds from the secondary star during pericentre passages, or through a measurement of the motion of the secondary whose velocity would exceed 10 km s–1 along the whole orbit.

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VendicarD
1 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2012
This is a welcome announcement as it comes on World Master Card Week.

Lurker2358
1 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2012
Dr Baumgardt said such dense star cluster models were a challenge to compute due to the large number of calculations that had to be made. The computations showed that, as the gas was being driven outwards, the cluster began to expand, explaining why most stars move rapidly. Many of the heavy stars were sling-shot out of the cluster, while some were driven into the centre of the cluster and collided with the most massive star there.


As I've described in the past, this should be the normal condition of star clusters. The more the stars explode, or the brighter they burn, the more mass is ejected and therefore the lighter the cluster becomes as a whole. The core grows denser over time because the Black Hole and other inner core objects sweep up any gas, light, or debris sent in its direction, therefore growing more and more massive.

This process takes several stellar life cycles, but massive stars have very short life cycles.
cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (15) Nov 01, 2012
"These properties have been a puzzle to astronomers, given all the knowledge that they have about how stars are formed and distributed," Dr Baumgardt

"In our model, we had to invent a new method of dealing with the gas and the way it is driven out from the cluster by the intensely radiating high-mass stars," said the study's lead author, Dr Ladislav Subr

Such is the M.O. of modern astronomy, rather than using the anomaly to further falsify the theory, a "new method had to be invented" to explain and save the theory. Just as with dark matter, dark energy, and any number of ad hoc additions that have been made to a failed theory.

BTW, it is absolutely futile to try and explain the behavior of this PLASMA with gas laws, it's like using an abacus to explain quantum mechanics.
SpiffyKavu
4.7 / 5 (14) Nov 01, 2012
cantdrive85, I hope you realize the "new method" is simply a new method to numerically solve the situation. No new physics was added, nothing special was done; standard physics on a computer.

And the reason why the computations take so long is exactly because they are taking the properties of a plasma into effect. Please give us astronomers some credit. Plasma dynamics have been included for the past ~17 years now (give or take a few years) simply because before the mid-90's, we didn't have the computing power to do anything with it.
A2G
4 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2012
CD, your insults of scientists smarter than you will ever be continues. If you were a bit smarter, you would realize this. You should check out the plasma physics dept at UCLA.

They actually do plasma experiments. A novel idea.
A2G
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2012
This is not just a plasma formation. There are large SOLID structures in this that do not obey plasma laws. Plasma IS FACTORED into this by the scientists as just part of it.

Your mindset and beliefs are that scientists don't know what they are doing and you instantly read that into every thing they write or say. Only an idiot would think like that.
A2G
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2012
Hannes, CD, and all the EUT crowd. More lectures on plasma from the EU folks who have never done ONE plasma experiment. NOT ONE.

Yet you want everyone to listen to you because the EUT theory is based on laboratory experiments. Could you kindly point all us ignorant ones to just ONE experiment in plasma any of you has ever done?

A. Peratt's lasted for milliseconds in a chamber while high school kids make stable plasmas and enter their results into high school science fairs.

Yeah, we can all see what plasma geniuses you EUT guys are.

See you at your conference with proof your EUT theory is total rubbish.

What is that conference called again?

"The Tripping Point"?
cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2012
When the scientists who are "smarter than you will ever be" can properly describe this "gas", I will gladly give them the respect you think they deserve.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." Winston Churchill

Unfortunately, as A2G has pointed out repeatedly, science is full of childish, prideful, conceited, egotists that must be coddled and humored to accept an alternative view point, criticism forbidden!
A2G
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2012
CD, I will NOT belittle you if you stop belittling the brilliant scientists just because they do not believe as you do. I am just giving you what you are giving out.

How do you like it?
cantdrive85
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 01, 2012
Once again, when I started posting, I took an entirely different angle (such as you suggest) and the response was the same. As such, vitriol is met with vitriol and surety is met with surety. However, it really doesn't bother me, it's not as if I roll up in the corner and sob because my rank is 1/5, it's not the 1% of the scientists who are my target (as you suggest), it's the 3% of the readers who are adept at critical thinking. Why you believe these "brilliant" scientists need to be foisted upon a pedestal is beyond me, very often the emperor is as nude as the day he was born. Idolatry is not a characteristic that I will conform to, regardless of belittlement.
cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2012
BTW, it's very comical suggesting that high school kids are more capable plasma physicists than Mr. Anthony Peratt, Ph.D Life Fellow IEEE; Acting Director, National Security, Nuclear Nonproliferation Directorate, USDOE, 1998. Member, Los Alamos National Laboratory Associate Direcotorate for Experiments and Simulations, 1999-2003 and protege/Doctoral student of Hannes Alfven.

Fortunately you aren't responsible for selecting who will research the plasma behavior of nuclear weapons, otherwise we might have a high school student at the helm.
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 01, 2012
And quite frankly I'm surprised you haven't played this angle since you brought up how Arp doesn't support the EUT. Right on the first page of A. Peratt's website, there is a disclaimer that states;
"The Plasma Universe and Plasma Cosmology have no ties to the anti-science blogsites of the holoscience 'electric universe'."

I figured that would change your mind on the man, and therefore start you can start singing praises his way.

You see, in all truth I'm on the fence between the two (or more) angles , it's abundantly clear we live in a universe that consists of 99.99 % plasma (NASA admits to this), the actual mechanisms still remain to be described completely. That being said, IMO, the feasibility of the "standard theory" is null and it belongs in the history books along with epicycles and such.

A2G
1 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2012
I don't care what degrees someone has, or the awards they have. I judge someone based on what they are saying. My dad worked at the Sandia Labs and I met some of the smart guys. Some from Los Alamos. Some were brilliant, but had no common sense and none of their ideas ever worked.

Some challenged my dad on his ideas. He would prove them wrong by making the thing work in the real world. i.e. experiments.

So I know very well that someone can even teach physics and not have the common sense to know when an idea is just wrong.

I attacked the EUT about degrees because the EUT websites are openly mis-leading people as to the real background of those involved.

I already told you this. Do you understand now? It is about the facts not the people. But the EUT people all have this same approach and it usually is how they start. Immediately belittle the researchers and their research.

Go read some real research papers for a change instead of the drivel from the EUT.
LED Guy
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2012
Cantdrive - according to you anything that can't be explained by an existing "standard" theory can wonderously and miraculously be explained by EUT. This holds the keys to everything!

Given the economic mess the US is in you should convince some of the EUT community to go into politics . . . Can't EUT help us out there or is it only the answer to questions in hard sciences?

BTW: They are called hard for a reason. If they were easy everyone would be doing them. It takes a certain skill set and aptitude.
rubberman
4 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2012
That being said, IMO, the feasibility of the "standard theory" is null and it belongs in the history books along with epicycles and such.

This is why you should take A2G's advice and research the standard theory, or if you have, dig deeper. With regards to particle physics, solar system dynamics and gravity in general, the standard theory works very well, any "new" theory will have to include the standard theory to explain alot of our observations. You'll like this link.....

http://www.schola...c_fields

And this one if you haven't already read it:

http://iopscience...ext.html
Meyer
not rated yet Nov 04, 2012
BTW: They are called hard for a reason. If they were easy everyone would be doing them. It takes a certain skill set and aptitude.

The "hard" in hard science has nothing to do with difficulty.
lookseasy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 07, 2012
it has been known for thousands of years that a "black hole" was located there. egypt, the winged disk. and its painted on the walls of cathedrals all over the place.

just sayin