UNITED STATES: A group of researchers from the Open University and the University of Southampton are looking for black holes, one of the most mysterious and elusive phenomena in the known universe. Black holes, which are concentrated masses of stuff, are occasionally left behind when the oldest, most massive stars explode.
The study team wants to find evidence for “hidden black holes” by analysing data from SuperWASP, the most successful extrasolar planet discovery programme in the UK, in conjunction with the general population.
Nothing, not even light, can escape from black holes because of their intense gravitational fields. They have a reputation for being difficult to find as a result. However, these black holes are occasionally surrounded by substances like gas and dust. This material warms up and releases powerful X-rays when it is rapidly drawn into the black hole, making “feeding” black holes visible.
However, not all black holes consume matter. The crew is attempting to locate concealed black holes since nothing is falling into them. Therefore, there are no x-rays to indicate their presence. Fortunately, a black hole’s gravity is so intense that it has the power to bend light from nearby stars, temporarily amplifying their brightness.
To find any stars that black holes have enlarged, the researchers are examining an archive of over ten observations from the SuperWASP survey over ten years. However, because there are numerous stars, and this is still a task that computers cannot consistently perform, they ask the public for assistance.
You can participate in their hunt by visiting the Black Hole Hunters project website. If you decide to do this, your job will involve looking at a few straightforward graphs showing how the brightness of stars changed and flagging it if you believe you have seen any changes that resemble what the researchers are looking for.