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The Closest Black Hole To Earth Found In The Telescopium Constellation

The Closest Black Hole To Earth Found In The Telescopium Constellation

European and American astronomers have found out that the giant star HR6819 in the constellation of the Telescopium is three different objects at once, one of which is the closest black hole to the Earth. The scientists described their discovery on the pages of the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

"We were very surprised when we realized that this star system represents the first point in space where we can see a black hole with the naked eye. This is the closest object of this kind to the Earth," said one of the authors of the article, a researcher at the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Petr Gadrava.

Scientists distinguish two categories of black holes that differ from each other in mass. Supermassive black holes are located in the centers of galaxies, they are heavier than the Sun by millions or even billions of times. Smaller objects, so-called stellar-mass black holes, are formed as a result of the gravitational collapse of large stars.

It is very difficult to notice these objects even at a short distance from Earth, since they emit almost nothing and do not attract distant stars, unlike supermassive black holes, many of which are quasars, the brightest sources of light in the Universe.

Therefore, astronomers usually learn about the existence of black holes of stellar mass only if there is at least one star near them, whose matter they constantly "steal." In this case, there are flashes of light, by which astronomers learn about these objects.

Hadrava and his colleagues discovered the closest stellar-mass black hole to earth, which had not shown up before, almost by accident. They studied the star HR6819, which is located in the constellation of the Telescopium at a distance of about a thousand light-years from Earth. In the past, scientists believed that it is a very large and young star, the brightness of which periodically changes under the influence of various processes in its interior.

Recently, astronomers have begun to suspect that the brightness of this star fluctuates since it consists of two relatively small blue stars that rotate at a small distance from each other. Astronomers test whether this is the case using the 2.2-meter telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), installed in the Atacama desert in Chile.

Long observations of changes in the brightness and shape of HR6819 unexpectedly indicated that this star system consists of not two, but three objects. Two of them were visible in the images, and the third, around which one of the stars revolved, was invisible in all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Its mass was four times that of the Sun, which leads astronomers to believe that it is a black hole.

Moreover, this discovery indicates that the newly discovered object LB-1, while the heaviest stellar-mass black hole in the constellation Gemini, is located in a similar star system. In favor of this, LB1 is characterized by approximately the same spectrum and brightness fluctuations as in the case of HR6819.

Moreover, this discovery indicates that the newly discovered object LB-1, while the heaviest stellar-mass black hole in the constellation Gemini, is located in a similar star system. In favor of this, LB1 is characterized by approximately the same spectrum and brightness fluctuations as in the case of HR6819.

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