June 23, 2024

Scientists have discovered a sleeping black hole outside the Milky Way

2 min read
Scientists have discovered a sleeping black hole outside the Milky Way
Observations were made with the Very Large Telescope. Photo: ESO/L. Sidewalk.

A star located in another galaxy, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, has turned into a “sleeping” black hole, a condition that makes it difficult to detect this type of celestial body. This phenomenon, which is one of the most unusual in astronomy, has recently been confirmed by specialists of various international entities.

Based on information from a team that, for six years, has made observations with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (ESO), the National Observatory explains that this is “the first stellar-mass sleeping black hole to be discovered outside our galaxy.”

A black hole is said to be “sleeping” when it doesn’t emit high levels of X-rays, which is exactly how these events are detected. The fact that this black hole does not receive material from a companion star makes the survey more special, and the phenomenon is difficult to measure.

These two objects – the black hole and the star – form a binary system. If they get close enough to each other, this star may begin to transfer matter into the black hole, which will then come out of its rest state.

Although not visible, due to massive gravity, attracting (or distorting) even light, black holes can be perceived mathematically, given the effect they exert on other celestial bodies.

According to the National Observatory, the black hole in question is about ten times the mass of the Sun and its companion star is 25 times the mass of the Sun.

“We’ve been looking for these binary systems with black holes for more than two years,” says Julia Bodensteiner, a researcher at ESO in Germany. Another study co-author, Pablo Marchant of KU Leuven, says it’s surprising how little is known about dormant black holes, “given how commonly astronomers believe they exist.”

To conduct the study, the team observed nearly a thousand massive stars in the Tarantula Nebula, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, in search of a star that had a black hole companion.

Brazil Agency.

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