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Current Affairs

Black hole 70 times larger than Sun discovered

Date: 29 November 2019 Tags: Space

Issue

An unpredicted monster black hole, 70 times as massive as the Sun, has been discovered in the Milky Way galaxy, which challenges the existing models of how stars evolve.

 

Background

Until now, scientists had estimated the mass of an individual stellar black hole in our galaxy at no more than 20 times that of the Sun. However, the discovery of the huge black hole by an international team, has toppled that assumption.

 

Details

  • The study described the stellar black hole named LB-1, located 15 thousand light-years from the Earth.

  • Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our Galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution.

  • Very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds, as they approach the end of their life and  they should not leave behind such a massive remnant.

  • Until a few years ago, stellar black holes could only be discovered when they gobbled up gas from a companion star.

  • The researchers explain that a vast majority of stellar black holes in our galaxy are not engaged in a cosmic banquet, though, and thus don’t emit revealing X-rays.

  • As a result, only about two dozen galactic stellar black holes have been well identified and measured.

  • The direct sighting of LB-1 proves that this population of over-massive stellar black holes exists even in our own galaxy.