The first that comes to mind when thinking about black hole, lurking somewhere in the depths of our galaxy, is almost always a kind of giant space monster that consumes everything in its path. However, as the portal livescience.comin the Universe can escape a whole new class of black holes, whose sizes can be much smaller than ever imagined by scientists.
Where is the nearest to the Earth a black hole?
Black holes are massive celestial objects whose gravitational pull is so great that they are able to absorb everything that approaches them too closely. In the past all the black hole was supermassive stars or supernovae that exploded, formed a new object with truly unique properties.
In order to find black holes in our galaxy, astronomers measured x-rays emitted by a particular black hole in their repulsion from neighboring stars. So, the closest to our planet is the place where violated all the laws of time and space, can be considered a black hole is V616 Monocerotis, located 3,000 light years from us, the features of which we described in one of previous articles.
Not so long ago a group of researchers wondered whether the Universe can exist relatively low-mass black holes could not emit x-ray signals as do their larger counterparts.
Such a hypothetical black holes probably exist in the systems of double stars, revolving at the same time far enough from them. Being hidden from the observers paired stars, x-ray radiation of such black holes remain invisible to researchers. In order to confirm or refute this original theory, the researchers analyzed a huge number of pairs of stars, with the result that we have observed some changes of the spectra and wavelength of light from each of these objects. Thus, the shift towards more blue or more red waves meant that the star can rotate around an invisible companion, which could be a small black hole.
It is thanks to this method, the researchers were able to detect massive dark object encased in a gravitational embrace with the rapidly rotating giant star at a distance of about 10 000 light-years away in the far reaches of our galaxy. Researchers have estimated the mass of this object is about 3.3 times larger than our Sun, indicating the fact that the detected object cannot be a neutron star because of too much mass while losing at the same rate of any known black hole.
To understand the nature of the detected object, the researchers suggested that in the Universe there is a special class of black holes whose mass makes them somewhere between neutron stars and classical black holes.
As you know, the most massive neutron star known to scientists, has a mass of 2.1 times the mass of our Sun, while the least massive black hole has long been considered an object whose mass is about five to six times the mass of our Sun. However, the lower limit of the mass of the item was the lowest in the entire history of observations and only 2.6 times the mass of our Sun. This figure, according to astronomers, is the upper limit of how much can be a neutron star: a little more, and the neutron star becomes a black hole.
Thus, discovered a very dark and mysterious object can be either the most massive neutron star ever could discover in the Universe, or the smallest black hole. In order to understand this incomprehensible question, researchers will soon have to use the Gaia spacecraft from the European space Agency, which will help gather the necessary information in the upcoming mission.