China Focus: Chinese astronomers discover unexpected huge stellar black hole

02 Décembre, 2019, 22:40 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Artist impression of

LB-1 is located 15,000 light-years from Earth and the researchers have likened the search for it "like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack: only one star in a thousand may be circling a black hole". According to CNN, Chinese scientists have discovered a "monster" black hole that is simply so large it shouldn't even be in existence.

A team of global scientists spotted a stellar black hole three-and-a-half times greater than anyone thought possible.

There are several types of black holes, and stellar black holes like LB-1 are on the smaller side, according to NASA. If that's true, the black hole would be only 10 times the mass of the sun. He added, "LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible". But the black hole big stars like LB-1 would not be possible under this theory.

"Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation", Liu said. Researchers had previously believed that the size limit was no more than 20 times the mass of our sun because as these stars die, they lose most of their mass through explosions that expel matter and gas swept away by stellar winds. This process creates powerful X-ray emissions, detectable from Earth, which reveal the presence of the collapsed object.

The Chinese team was able to counter that limitation by using the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) to look for stars that orbit an invisible object pulled by its gravity.

Alongside collaborators from Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the US, Liu helped uncover a monster black hole 70 times more massive than the sun. The scientists backed up their observations with information from two different telescopes.

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The discovery of LB-1 fits nicely with another breakthrough in astrophysics.

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.

The discovery of the black hole also ties in with another recent astrophysics discovery - the detection of ripples in space-time caused by black hole collisions in distant galaxies. It is 70 times larger than the sun. The other theory that has been considered is that the black hole was created from a "fallback supernova".

"The discovery of this forces us to re-examine our model of how stellar-mass black holes are formed", the release quoted the University of Florida physicist David Reitze.

Liu said the research team aims to utilize the LAMOST to discover almost 100 black holes within the Milky Way in the coming five years.

An artist's rendition of LB-1, a massive black hole discovered by scientists in the Milky Way Galaxy.

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