UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Astronomers have discovered a black hole in the Milky Way galaxy that is so powerful that it casts doubt on current theories of how stars evolve, researchers said Thursday.
LB-1 is 15,000 light-years from Earth and has a mass 70 times that of the Sun, according to Nature.
Liu Jifeng, of the National Observatory of Chinese Astronomy, who led the research, said he estimated the Milky Way had 100 million star black holes, but the LB-1 mass was larger than scientists had thought possible. “There should be no black holes of this magnitude in our galaxy according to most prevailing theories about the evolution of stars,” he said.
Scientists believe that there are two types of black holes. The most common stellar black holes, 20 times larger than the Sun, form when a very large star collapses on itself. But the size of massive black holes is at least a million times larger than the size of the sun and its origins are uncertain.
But researchers believe that typical stars in the Milky Way receive most of their gases through stellar winds, preventing the emergence of a black hole the size of “LP-1,” Liu said.
‘A new kind of black holes’
The astronomers are still at the beginning of their understanding of “the abundance of black holes and the mechanisms through which they form,” physicist David Raizzi of the California Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the discovery, told AFP.
The LEGO gravitational wave observatory at the American Institute, which is supervised by Rietzzi, has previously discovered ripples in space-time (space + time) that suggest that black holes in distant galaxies may have been much larger than previously thought.
Stellar black holes are usually formed after massive supernova explosions, a phenomenon that occurs when large stars burn at the end of their lives.
The huge mass from “to P-1” is in a range “known as the pair’s instability gap where the supernova should not occur”, according to Rietzi. “This means that a new type of black hole is formed by another mechanism,” he explained.
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