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Saturday March 02, 2024

Scientists find an exotic black hole deemed a ‘needle in a haystack’

By AFP
July 19, 2022

PARIS: Astronomers have spotted in a galaxy adjacent to our Milky Way what they are calling a cosmic "needle in a haystack" - a black hole that not only is classified as dormant but appears to have been born without the explosion of a dying star.Researchers said on Monday this one differs from all other known black holes in that it is "X-ray quiet" - not emitting powerful X-ray radiation indicative of gobbling up nearby material with its strong gravitational pull - and that it was not born in a stellar blast called a supernova.

Now the international team has found a "needle in a haystack," said Tomer Shenar, an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam and lead author of a new study in the Nature Astronomy journal.

The team was searching the skies for something that could eventually become a binary black hole, in which two black holes orbit each other after swallowing their stars in a supernovae explosion.

"We found a quite massive star, that weighs 25 times the mass of our Sun, that is orbiting around something that we do not see," Shenar told AFP. They believe the blue star, which is in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy that neighbours our Milky Way, is locked in a death dance with a black hole that has nine times the mass of our Sun.