Scientists recently discovered a black hole so massive that is yet to be explained by theory, according to a new study.
A Chinese-led team found the black hole which turned out to be about 68 times heftier than our Sun. The problem with this is that such objects should be three times smaller.
Jifeng Liu, lead author of the study, said that black holes this massive shouldn’t even exist in a galaxy as small as ours.
According to previous calculations, the Milky Way galaxy’s stellar-mass black holes (which are the result of the death of giant stars) should add up to 25 times the mass of the sun, at most.
Liu’s team observed the black hole by utilizing gravitational observations from LAMOST (China’s Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic telescope).
Usually, black holes are highlighted by their significant X-rays and gamma rays activity, produced by their gobbling up of nearby gas and dust. Liu’s team, however, searched for stars which are orbiting inactive black holes, which are discoverable only by their strong gravitational pull.
The newly discovered star was named LB-1. It is about eight times more massive than our sun and it appears to complete an orbit around a seemingly invisible black hole every 79 days.
How far away is it?
Astronomically speaking, the black hole is relatively close to our planet at an estimated 13,800 light-years from Earth, which is just 15% of the estimated diameter of our galaxy.
“We thought that very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds, as they approach the end of their life. Therefore, they should not leave behind such a massive remnant,” Liu said.