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 Post subject: Closest black hole to Earth is only 1,000 light years away
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 4:05 pm 
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Sons of Thunder
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The closest black hole to Earth is only 1,000 light years away, astronomers have discovered, as they reveal its stars are visible to the naked eye on a clear night sky.

Located in a system called HR 6819, in the constellation Telescopium, the hole is so close to our planet that its stars can be seen from the southern hemisphere without binoculars.

Although the black hole itself is invisible, it has two bright accompanying stars, making the “triple system” appear as a single bright star through a telescope.

Experts previously believed that only two stars were present in the system because of the way it emitted light.

However, astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have found evidence of the invisible object by tracking its two companion stars using a 2.2 metre telescope.

Analysis of their observations showed that one of the two visible stars orbits an unseen object every 40 days, while the second star keeps a significant distance.

The research team were able to detect the previously unknown hole and calculate its mass by studying the orbit of the star in the inner pair within the system.

The discovery of the hole in HR 6819 makes it one of the first stellar-mass black holes that does not interact violently with its environment, meaning it appears truly black.

Black holes are objects which are usually formed from the gravitational collapse of a massive star.

Experts believe the triple system could lead to more similar objects being found in the future, with only a couple dozen black holes observed within our galaxy to date.

Dr Thomas Rivinius, the study leader and scientist at the ESO, a European astronomy organisation based in Germany, said: “This system contains the nearest black hole to Earth that we know of. An invisible object with a mass at least four times that of the sun can only be a black hole.”

“There must be hundreds of millions of black holes out there, but we know about only very few. Knowing what to look for should put us in a better position to find them.”

The new work, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, is based on data collected using telescopes at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile.

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 Post subject: Re: Closest black hole to Earth is only 1,000 light years aw
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 4:30 pm 
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