Two stellar-mass black holes in the globular cluster M22

Jay Strader, Laura Chomiuk, Thomas Maccarone, James CA Miller-Jones, Anil C Seth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hundreds of stellar-mass black holes probably form in a typical globular star cluster, with all but one predicted to be ejected through dynamical interactions. Some observational support for this idea is provided by the lack of X-ray-emitting binary stars comprising one black hole and one other star (`black-hole/X-ray binaries') in Milky Way globular clusters, even though many neutron-star/X-ray binaries are known. Although a few black holes have been seen in globular clusters around other galaxies, the masses of these cannot be determined, and some may be intermediate-mass black holes that form through exotic mechanisms. Here we report the presence of two flat-spectrum radio sources in the Milky Way globular cluster M22, and we argue that these objects are black holes of stellar mass (each ~10-20 times more massive than the Sun) that are accreting matter. We find a high ratio of radio-to-X-ray flux for these black holes, consistent with the larger predicted masses of black holes in
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71
JournalNature
StatePublished - Oct 2012

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