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Thursday, 18 April 2024 21:03

Unusual Black Hole Found in Milky Way Galaxy

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VOInews, Jakarta: The European space telescope Gaia, dedicated to mapping the Milky Way, has detected a black hole with 33 times the mass of the Sun, in an unprecedented discovery in the Milky Way galaxy, according to a study published on Tuesday (16/4/2024).


The object, named Gaia PH3, located two thousand light years from Earth in the constellation Scorpio, belongs to a family of stellar black holes that result from the collapse of massive stars at the end of their lives. It is much smaller than the supermassive black holes found at the centre of galaxies, whose formation scenarios are not yet known. Pasquale Panozzo, a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research at the Paris-BSL Observatory and lead author of the study published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters, told AFP that the discovery of Gaia PH3 was a fluke.


Scientists from the Gaia Consortium, a group of scientific and technological organisations, were scanning the latest data provided by the probe, with the aim of publishing an updated catalogue in 2025, when they discovered a particular binary star system. "We see a star slightly smaller than the Sun (about 75 per cent of its mass) and brighter, orbiting around an unseen object," Panozzo said, which can be detected by the disturbances it experiences.


Space telescopes provide very precise positions of the stars in the sky, allowing astronomers to characterise the orbit and measure the mass of the unseen companion object. It is 33 times more massive than the Sun.

Additional observations from ground-based telescopes have confirmed that the object is a black hole with a mass much larger than that of any stellar black hole in the Milky Way, between 10 and 20 times the mass of the Sun. Similar supermassive holes have been detected in distant galaxies through gravitational waves. "But there has never been such a discovery in our galaxy," Panozzo said. (Daniel)


Source: AFP

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