US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — A group of astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other institutions discovered a black hole just a thousand light-years from Earth. This is more than three times closer than A 0620-00 – the previous record holder, located in the constellation Unicorn.
Astronomers observed the HR 6819 system in the constellation of the Telescope as part of the study of binary stellar systems. After analyzing the data, it turned out that the system contains a third, previously undetected object.
Observations with the FEROS spectrograph at the 2.2-meter MPG / ESO telescope in La Silla showed that one of two visible stars with an estimated mass of 5 to 7 solar stars revolves around an invisible companion in 40 days, and the second is at a great distance from this inner couples.
“An invisible object, whose mass is at least four times the mass of the Sun, can only be a black hole. Therefore, this system contains the black hole closest to Earth, which we know about,” says Thomas Rivinius, ESO astronomer.
A preliminary analysis of the team suggests that the minimum mass of the black hole in the HR 6819 system is 4.2 solar. Since to date no black holes have been detected less than five solar masses, HR 6819 may become a champion if the data are confirmed.
To date, less than 50 stellar mass black holes have been discovered in our galaxy. Almost all of them actively interact with their surroundings and give out their presence with powerful x-ray radiation arising from this interaction. But according to scientists, during the life of the Milky Way, much more stars should have turned into black holes at the end of their evolution. The discovery of the “sleeping” invisible black hole in HR 6819 suggests where many of the hidden black holes of the Milky Way might be.
“There must be hundreds of millions of black holes in the Galaxy, and we only know a few. Now that we know where to look, there should be more of them,” said Thomas Rivinius.
Scientists have already outlined the object for the next study – the star system LB-1 in the constellation Gemini.
“We realized that LB-1 could also be such a triple system, although we need more observations to say for sure. LB-1 is a little further from Earth, but still quite close from an astronomical point of view. So this means that there are probably many more such systems. Having found and studied them, we can learn a lot about the formation and evolution of stars with a mass of about eight times the size of the Sun, which end their lives with a supernova explosion and the formation of a black hole, ”concludes Marianne Heida, ESO Researcher.
Contact us: [email protected]