The largest black hole found in the Milky Way



PARIS: A study released on Tuesday revealed that astronomers had found the largest star black hole seen in the Milky Way to far, with a mass 33 times that of the Sun.

The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission obtained data that led to the “by chance” discovery of the black hole, known as Gaia BH3, according to Pasquale Panuzzo, an astronomer from the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the Observatoire de Paris.

The mission of Gaia is to survey the Milky Way galaxy, which is situated in the Aquila constellation 2,000 light years from Earth.

Astronomers were able to measure the mass of the star’s invisible companion, which is 33 times that of the Sun, and characterize the orbits of stars thanks to Gaia’s telescope, which can pinpoint a star’s exact location in the sky.

Subsequent studies using ground-based telescopes verified that the black hole’s mass was significantly larger than the star black holes present in the Milky Way.

Nobody anticipated discovering a high-mass black hole so close to Earth that it had not yet been discovered. In a press release, Panuzzo stated, “This is the kind of discovery you make once in your research life.”

When researchers noticed a “wobbling” motion on the companion star orbiting the stellar black hole, they were able to identify it.

Stellar black holes are smaller than supermassive black holes, whose formation is yet unknown. Stellar black holes are formed when enormous stars collapse at the conclusion of their lives.

Gravitational waves have previously been used to find such giants in far-off galaxies. But Panuzzo asserted, “never in ours.”

Since BH3 is a “dormant” black hole that cannot be stripped of its substance by its companion star, it is difficult to detect because it does not emit any X-rays.

The first two dormant black holes in the Milky Way, Gaia BH1 and BH2, were discovered by Gaia’s telescope.

After ten years of operation at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, Gaia produced a three-dimensional map in 2022 showing the locations and velocities of over 1.8 billion stars.


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