Discovery of the black hole Gaia BH3, the most massive star in the Milky Way

Astronomers have discovered Gaia BH3, the most massive stellar black hole in the Milky Way. It is about 2000 light years away from Earth.

A stellar black hole or stellar black hole is a black hole formed by collapsing under the influence of the gravity of a star. Its mass is usually between 5 and 10 solar masses, however, Gaia BH3 has a mass of up to 33 solar masses. It succeeded in breaking the previous record for the black hole Cygnus X-1, which has a mass of about 21 solar masses.

In addition to being a massive stellar black hole, Gaia BH3 is located about 2,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the Vulture constellation. Which, despite the absence of any influence on life on Earth or the solar system, is considered the second closest black hole to Earth. It comes in second place after the black hole Gaia BH1, which is about 1,500 light-years away.

Pascal Panozzo, an astronomer from the French National Center for Scientific Research, was part of the team that discovered the black hole. Express your opinion: “No one expected that we would find a massive black hole this close to the Earth. Where it hides from various discoveries, this has been coming for a long time, and this is a discovery that only happens once in a researcher’s life.”

The Gaia BH3 black hole was discovered by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Gaia spacecraft, which detected an unusual wobble of a pair of stars orbiting it. That's before additional data from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Ground-Based Telescope confirms the discovery. Such as accurately measuring the mass of a black hole.

This black hole confirms that stars containing elements heavier than hydrogen and helium lose less mass during their life cycles compared to stars containing heavier elements. This leaves enough material behind to collapse into a massive black hole. Based on studies of the formation of the star orbiting the black hole Gaia BH3, astronomers found that it is a star that contains a small number of heavy elements. Stars that orbit together often have similar compositions.

However, Gaia BH3 is only the most massive stellar black hole in the Milky Way. The title of the largest black hole in our galaxy goes to Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. Which has a mass of about 4 million times greater than the Sun

Photo: ESO/El Calzada

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