A black hole the invisible, which is the result of the collapse of a star, is quietly hanging out in the neighboring galaxy. Potentially a threat to Earth?
The challenge of finding black holes of this type is much greater because these celestial objects do not actively feed on matter such as gas, dust, stellar matter, or even planets like Earth.
Without such devouring activity, black holes don’t emit the X-rays that scientists use to detect ordinary black holes. The new discovery is said to be able to help researchers understand how stars end in life.
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“We identified a needle in a haystack,” Tomer Shenar, an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and lead author of the new study, said in a statement. Science Alert.
The black hole that Shenar and his colleagues discovered has a mass about nine times the mass of the Sun and is located in the Tarantula Nebula, a star-forming region in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The black hole orbits a large blue star with a mass equivalent to 25 suns. These two space objects form a binary system that scientists have named VFTS 243.
Billions of dormant black holes are estimated to exist in nearly every galaxy, but this is the first very clear detection of an inactive black hole outside the Milky Way.
These black holes are called interesting by scientists because they usually form when massive stars run out of the fuel needed to continue nuclear fusion.
The final period of fusion puts an end to the external pressure force, helping the star to resist the gravitational collapse of the star’s core.
The process of collapse in the core of the star itself is usually accompanied by a large cosmic explosion called a supernova.
However, the black hole situation in VFTS 243 appears to be different. The reason is, this black hole has no visible traces of supernovae accompanying the star’s collapse.
“The star that formed the black hole in VFTS 243 appears to have collapsed completely, with no signs of an earlier explosion,” Shenar said. Space.
“Evidence for this ‘immediate collapse’ scenario has emerged recently, but our study provides arguably one of the most direct indications. This has major implications for the origin of merging black holes in the cosmos.”
Furthermore, the search for VFTS 243 required scientists to examine six years of data collected by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) located in the Atacama Desert region of Northern Chile.
In the data, scientists investigated 1,000 massive stars in the Tarantula Nebula region of the Large Magellanic Cloud to find out whether any of these stars could have an inactive black hole companion.
For each star, the team analyzed its spectrum and measured how much light the star emits at certain wavelengths. And in the VFTS 243 data, the researchers noticed anomalies in the star’s orbit, such as those caused by massive black holes.