'Extraordinary' black hole weighs in at 70 solar masses

Chinese scientists discover unpredicted stellar black hole

Scientists have discovered a "monstrous black hole" so massive that, in theory, it should not exist.

This theory has now been toppled by LB-1, the newly-discovered black hole. Earlier, researchers had estimated that the maximum mass of a black hole could not exceed 20 times the mass of our sun, but LB-1 defies these beliefs.

Stellar black holes are formed by the collapse of massive stars.

CBS News reports Chinese astronomers published their findings this week in the journal Nature.

Chinese scientists have discovered a black hole more than 70 times the mass of our sun, several times greater than previously thought possible, located about 15,000 light years away.

Liu added, We think that very large star with a distinctive chemical composition of galaxies we have to release most of their gas in a strong stellar wind, when they approach the end of their lives. Scientists believe that supermassive black holes may be connected to the formation of galaxies, since they often exist in the center of massive star systems, but it is still unclear exactly how, or which form is formed first.

This leaves the theorists to explain what caused this kind of formation in the first place.

A rendering by artist Yu Jingchuan of the accretion of gas onto a stellar black hole from its blue companion star, through a truncated accretion disk.

The black hole was discovered using the LAMOST telescope in China, the Gran Telescopio Canarias in Spain, the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in the United States; teams in those countries, alongside scientists in Australia, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands, took part in the research. They also spotted light coming from a disk of material surrounding the black hole, which helped them narrow down how big it is.

Instead, the team that discovered LB-1 tracked the movements of "huge numbers of stars over a long period of time", before identifying LB-1 based on the motion of its companion star, Liu said. "This discovery forces us to reexamine our models of how black holes of star mass form", said David Reitze, a physicist at the University of Florida. These stellar black holes are different than so-called supermassive black holes, which are found at the center of galaxies and can be billions of times the mass of our Sun. David Reitze from the University of Florida in the U.S.

Out of the 100 million black holes believed to exist in our galaxy, Liu said, only 4,000 "can give you X-rays that can be detected by us".

"LIGO/Virgo black holes are naturally explained within the framework of standard stellar evolution theory", added Dr. Chris Belczynski, from the Polish Academy of Sciences.

A black hole can usually be formed in a matter of seconds after a star collapses in on itself.

"This remarkable result along with the LIGO-Virgo detections of binary black hole collisions during the past four years really points towards a renaissance in our understanding of black hole astrophysics", said LIGO Director Prof.



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