(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of astronomers have reported that they have observed the possible birth of a black hole. The results of the study were published in Nature and The Astrophysical Journal.
Although black holes are known to be produced by the collapse of a dying star, 40 to 50 times the mass of the sun, researchers have so far been unable to distinguish this process from supernovae that lead to neutron stars.
It is assumed that the emergence of a black hole may be accompanied by ejections of matter leaving the collapsing star at high speed (for example, in the form of relativistic jets). Such jets, when colliding with matter falling onto a black hole, should produce a high-energy flash.
The researchers believe that the collapse of a star into a black hole may be responsible for the long-lasting gamma-ray bursts first detected in the 1960s. The bursts themselves are due to relativistic jets generated by collapsing stars.
However, gamma-ray bursts are accompanied by a long afterglow, indicating that most of the star was ejected into space rather than collapsed into a black hole. A more likely explanation for the bursts is offered by models of a super magnetized neutron star producing its own relativistic jets.
Astronomers have twice detected a previously unknown type of explosion, which, like gamma-ray bursts, should have been the result of a collision of fast-moving matter with surrounding cosmic gas.
Spectroscopic observations have shown that both cases could be associated with Wolf-Rayet stars, which are very massive. The explosions were very short-lived, and scientists were able to rule out the scenario of an ordinary supernova.
As soon as the collision between the fast matter and its surroundings ceased, the source practically disappeared, and did not glow for a long time.
According to the scientists, this is exactly what you would expect from a star collapse, in which only a small amount of material is ejected, and the rest is absorbed by the black hole.
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