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Astronomers discover closest black hole to Earth

Still Waters

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Black holes are the most extreme objects in the universe. Supermassive versions of these unimaginably dense objects likely reside at the centers of all large galaxies. Stellar-mass black holes—which weigh approximately five to 100 times the mass of the sun—are much more common, with an estimated 100 million in the Milky Way alone.

Only a handful have been confirmed to date, however, and nearly all of these are "active"—meaning they shine brightly in X-rays as they consume material from a nearby stellar companion, unlike dormant black holes which do not.

Astronomers using the Gemini North telescope on Hawai'i, one of the twin telescopes of the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSF's NOIRLab, have discovered the closest black hole to Earth, which the researchers have dubbed Gaia BH1. This dormant black hole weighs about 10 times the mass of the sun and is located about 1,600 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus, making it three times closer to Earth than the previous record holder, an X-ray binary in the constellation of Monoceros.



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6 hours ago, jethrofloyd said:

I hope, in the future it doesn't get close enough to swallow the Earth. :huh:

Earth will be long gone, swallowed by our own dying star, the sun...

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On 11/10/2022 at 8:28 PM, jethrofloyd said:

I hope, in the future it doesn't get close enough to swallow the Earth. :huh:

Well, we can always send Bruce Willis to blow up the bloody thing.

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