Scientists believe that black holes lurk much closer to Earth than we previously thought

The closest black hole to Earth was thought to be 1,560 light-years away, but a new study suggests there could be a black hole about 150 light-years away.

Black holes are some of the most powerful and mysterious objects in the known universe, and there could be an object much closer to Earth than previously thought.


A study has found possible evidence of Black hole The closest open star cluster to Earth is called the Hyades Cluster.

Data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia mission have revealed the two closest known black holes and the second closest black holes in 2022, Gaia BH1 and Gaia BH2, which are 1,560 light-years and 3,800 light-years away from Earth, respectively.

New paperHowever, research published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggests that black holes may exist much closer to Earth, at a distance of only 150 light-years.

Scientists at the University of Padua in Italy and the University of Barcelona in Spain used simulations to track the motion and evolution of all the stars in the open Hyades cluster, which is about 150 light-years away.

Black holes still exist in or near the Hyades cluster

An open cluster is a group of hundreds or thousands of stars held together loosely by the force of their gravity, and sharing certain characteristics such as age or chemical composition.

The simulation results were compared with the actual positions and velocities of stars in the Hyades, which are now precisely known from observations made by the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite.

“Our simulations cannot simultaneously match the mass and volume of the Hyades unless some black holes exist at the center of the cluster today (or until recently),” said Stefano Torniamenti, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Padua and first author. the paper.

The Hyades cluster’s current properties were reproduced best when there were two or three black holes included in the simulations, although the researchers also said that those that included black holes that had been “kicked” out of the cluster still gave a good match.

The results indicate that it is still there black holes In the cluster, or very close by, making them the closest black hole candidates to our solar system.

“This observation helps us understand how the presence of black holes affects the evolution of star clusters and how star clusters in turn contribute to the sources of gravitational waves,” said Mark Giles, a member of the Department of Quantum Physics at the University of Barcelona.

“These results also give us insight into how these mysterious objects are distributed across the galaxy.”


What is a black hole?

It is believed that most black holes are formed from massive stars that have experienced a supernova explosion.

The star’s mass collapses in on itself, compressing into a tighter area, until it becomes an object so dense that even light cannot escape its gravity.

Because black holes cannot be observed directly using current technology, their existence is usually inferred by studying their effect on other nearby matter. For example, if a black star ripped apart a passing star, this process would generate X-rays that would be shot into space so we could detect them.

Research into black holes accelerated after the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015, which were attributed to the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light-years away.

(tags for translation)black holes

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