Chinese scientists discover unpredicted stellar black hole

Pablo Tucker
November 30, 2019

"No one has ever seen a 70-solar-mass stellar black hole anywhere", Joel Bregman, one of the study authors and a professor of astronomy at the University of MI, said in an interview.

The "monster", located 15,000 light-years from Earth, has been officially named LB-1 by the Chinese-led research team.

The statement noted that scientists had previously believed that an individual stellar black hole - formed when a star collapses - in our galaxy could weigh only as much as 20 times the mass of our sun. LIU Jifeng of the National Astronomical Observatory of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), spotted a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the Sun.


The findings had been printed by Chinese language researchers within the journal Nature on Wednesday.

"We thought that very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our Galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds, as they approach the end of their life", Liu added. Thus, they cannot leave behind it a massive trail. Theorists will now have to come up with an explanation for the black hole, which is said to be twice as big as what scientists thought possible.

Astronomers can most easily spot black holes that regularly consume large quantities of matter.


The black hole was discovered using the LAMOST telescope in China, the Gran Telescopio Canarias in Spain, the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in the USA; teams in those countries, alongside scientists in Australia, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands, took part in the research. It can take less than a billion years to make a black hole even bigger but how long they really usually take to form has yet to be determined.

On March 2, 2019, we reported in "The Invisible Galaxy" that astronomers discovered a dozen black holes gathered around Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, supporting a decades-old prediction.

"This discovery forces us to re-examine our models of how stellar black holes form", said Professor David Reitze, the executive director of the LIGO Laboratory at Caltech and an astrophysicist at the University of Florida. LB-1's sheer size suggests that it "was not formed from the collapse of only one star", the study said - instead, it could potentially be two smaller black holes orbiting each other. But the newly discovered black hole is the largest of its kind. David Reitze of the University of Florida, in the statement.


An artist's impression of the wide star-black-hole binary system LB-1. As a result, astronomers look for the effects of a black hole in the vicinity. The vast majority of stellar black holes in our Galaxy are not engaged in a cosmic banquet, though, and thus don't emit revealing X-rays. In May, Reitze's team made its own breakthrough discovery - observing the never-before-seen collision of a neutron star and a black hole, which sent out ripples in space and time.

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