Astronomers discover Milky Way’s heaviest known black hole

Jerusalem: Astronomers have found BH3, which is by far the heaviest known stellar black hole in the Milky Way galaxy, 33 times the mass of the Sun.

An international research team found the black hole when looking into the latest data group recorded in the European Space Agency’s Gaia space telescope, Israel’s Tel Aviv University (TAU) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The black hole is located 1,500 light years away from Earth, said TAU, whose researchers participated in the study of the newly discovered binary system, Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

In binary systems, a visible star can be found orbiting a massive but unseen companion, indicating the latter is a black hole.

Binaries have revealed around 50 suspected or confirmed stellar-mass black holes in the Milky Way, but scientists think there may be as many as 100 million in our galaxy alone, according to NASA.

Stellar-mass black holes are formed when a star runs out of its nuclear combustion fuel and collapses.

The BH3 was detailed in the open-access journal ‘Astronomy & Astrophysics’ for further study.

IANS

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