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November 7 2012

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

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 sophisticated computer modelling programs, the team found these fast-moving stars, visible in the night sky and known as the Orion Nebula Cluster, were potentially held together through the powerful gravitational pull of a black hole up to 200 times the mass of the sun.

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

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