BLACK HOLE DISCOVERED CLOSEST TO EARTH
|Source: European Space Agency|
A Black Hole "In Our Neighborhood"
European astronomers have found the closest black hole to Earth ever discovered. It is so close that two stars circling it can be seen with the naked eye. The black hole is called the HR 6819 triple system. It was created by the death of a fleeting young star. Two remaining super hot stars continue to orbit it.
Trillions of Miles From Earth
It is the closest black hole discovered but it is still 1,000 light years away. Every light year equals 5.9 trillion miles. It was discovered by astronomers using the European Space Agency's massively powerful telescope at the European Southern Observatory in northern Chile. Lead astronomer Thomas Rivinius says the black hole "is in our neighborhood". He adds there may be 100 million to one billion of these relatively small but hugely dense objects in the Milky Way.
Black Holes Where Nothing Escapes
The difficulty of discovering black holes is nothing escapes from them. Even light doesn't escape so they are virtually invisible. In the case of this new discovery, astronomers found the black hole because of the unusual orbit of the two stars.
Dating Back 15 Million Years
This black hole was created 15 million years ago, according to the astronomers, when one of the three stars became too hot, too big, transformed to a supernova and then turned into a black hole in a violent process. The astronomers say the black hole is four to five times the mass of the Sun and its accompanying stars are three times hotter than the Sun.