Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole ‘practically in our backyard’ | Sciences
The newly discovered black hole is closer to Earth than any other black hole discovered to date. At a distance of only 1,550 light-years away, the researchers say, the black hole is “practically located in Earth’s backyard.”
Detecting black holes remains a challenge for astronomers. The gravity of a black hole is so great that no light can escape from it. As a result, black holes can only be detected indirectly.
Astronomers mainly look at the way stars move through the universe. Deviations in it may indicate the presence of a black hole. To discover this black hole, scientists studied the motions of 200,000 so-called binary stars.
It is almost impossible to photograph a black hole. Astronomers succeeded for the first time in 2019. Earlier this year, the best photo of a black hole to date was taken. This black hole is located at a distance of 27,000 light years from Earth.
Scientists are gaining more and more knowledge about black holes. The discovery of a black hole very close to Earth will also contribute to this. The Milky Way, the galaxy of which Earth and the Sun are a part, probably hides more than a million black holes.
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