Scientists discover a mysterious ‘Sleeping’ black hole in the galaxy next door

    This is the first time a dormant black hole has been discovered in a neighbouring galaxy. Know how it is different.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Jul 21 2022, 17:35 IST
    Black Hole
    This new black hole was born when a giant star dies and ends up crushed under its own gravity. (NASA)
    Black Hole
    This new black hole was born when a giant star dies and ends up crushed under its own gravity. (NASA)

    A Black Hole is a massive mystery and an object to be feared. These aspects have always kept humanity intrigued. A black hole is that mysterious region in space where gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape and everything around is gobbled up by it. Because everything has been squeezed into such a small space, gravity is incredibly strong and that keeps anything from escaping from a black hole. But finding these black holes in space is not that easy and must be surmised from the behaviour of galaxies and stars near them. However, now scientists have managed to find a black hole that should be extremely common but it is actually quite rare- a dormant black hole. This means that it is not feeding on other objects around it.

    This kind of dormant black hole, Stellar-mass black hole, is rare and challenging for astronomers to discover just because of the fact that these objects are not actively foraging on matter like gas, dust or stellar material stripped from a companion stars. When they feed of their surrounding matter, x-rays are generated that help astronomers locate them. If they don't, locating them is difficult.

    However, a team of international experts have discovered this stellar-mass black hole in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is a neighbour galaxy to our own. “We identified a ‘needle in a haystack',” says Tomer Shenar who is an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and is the lead author of the new study on black holes. This new black hole has been named VFTS 243.

    This is the first confirmed detection of a dormant stellar-mass black hole outside the Milky Way and that too despite the expectations that billions of dormant black holes exist in virtually every galaxy. Approximately 1000 massive stars in the Tarantula Nebula region of the Large Magellanic Cloud were scanned by the team in search of a potential black hole companions in order to locate VFTS 243. It is quite challenging to determine whether these companions are black holes because there are so many other potential explanations.

    This new discovery can be an upshot of how stars collapse at the end of their lives or a view into the processes that accompany the formation of black holes.

    The Stellar-mass black hole may have formed differently. Usually, when a star dies, at the end f the process there is an explosion that is referred to as a supernova. But this black hole was not created that way, it seems to have formed after the star collapsed in on itself without the explosion.

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    First Published Date: 21 Jul, 17:35 IST
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