Chinese astronomers discover unexpected huge stellar black hole — China Focus

Katie Ramirez
December 2, 2019

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". Discovery of the giant black hole was a surprise according to one of the scientists on the team as current models of stellar evolution say that black holes of this size shouldn't exist.

Previously, scientists believed that the stars in our galaxy will lose much of their mass in the final stages of their life before it becomes a black hole, Jifeng said in the release.

There are several types of black holes, and stellar black holes like LB-1 are on the smaller side, according to NASA.

The results were shocking: A star eight times heavier than the sun orbits a 70-solar-mass black hole every 79 days.

Liu's team observed the black hole by utilizing gravitational observations from LAMOST (China's Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic telescope). He added, "LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible". "Therefore, they should not leave behind such a massive remnant". The hole is called LB-1 and is 70 times larger than our sun en masse, which is an fantastic discovery because it was previously thought that black holes could only have a mass of 20 times our sun. "Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation". Since most black holes aren't actively consuming gas from a nearby star, only about two dozen Galactic stellar black holes have been identified and measured.

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Most black holes are discovered through their dramatic exercise in X-rays or gamma rays that are emitted because the behemoths gobble up close by fuel and mud.

The newly discovered star was named LB-1.

After the initial discovery, the world's largest optical telescopes - Spain's 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias and the 10-m Keck I telescope in the United States - were used to determine the system's physical parameters. 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 team has spotted a black hole that is 70 times the mass of the Sun. 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.

A paper on the discovery of the black hole has been published in the journal Nature.

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