Chinese scientists discover massive black hole in our Galaxy

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 2, 2019

The team led the Chinese say the black hole has been named LB-1 and is located 15,000 light years from Earth is a cosmic "backyard", according to a release.

An global team of scientists say they have discovered stellar-mass black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the sun is so large it defies the current theory on how the black hole of the shape of its kind.

Scientists do not know how this hole was created, but theories have been advanced.

The team, headed by Liu Jifeng, of the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), spotted the black hole, which has a mass 70 times greater than the Sun. They are the remnants of stars that have died and usually have a mass of 10 to 24, the sun, NASA said.

"Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation", Liu said. 'This process creates powerful X-ray emissions, detectable from Earth, that reveal the presence of the collapsed object'. The hole is called LB-1 and is 70 times greater than our sun in mass, which is an astounding discovery since it was previously believed that black holes could only have a mass of 20 times our sun. Liu's team, however, searched for stars which are orbiting inactive black holes, which are discoverable only by their strong gravitational pull. The scientists backed up their observations with information from two different telescopes.

Scientists used the world's largest optical telescopes-Spain's Gran Telescopio Canarias and the US's Keck I-to determine the system's physical parameters. LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible.

The black hole "monster" LB-1 is not the biggest black hole ever discovered, but is probably the largest of its kind. Recently, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo gravitational wave detectors have begun to catch ripples in space-time caused by collisions of black holes in distant galaxies. The other theory that has been considered is that the black hole was created from a "fallback supernova". Europe's Gaia space telescope, which precisely measures the movements of a billion stars, has suggested that the distance to this black hole might be only about 7,000 light-years, or roughly half the distance the Chinese team calculated.

The researchers explained that until a few years ago, stellar black holes could only be discovered when they gobbled up gas from a companion star.

"This remarkable result", Reitze, a professor at the University of Florida, added, "really points toward a renaissance in our understanding of black hole astrophysics".

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