Why in News?
- Scientists have discovered what may be the smallest-known black hole in the Milky Way galaxy and the closest to our solar system and has named it ‘the Unicorn.’
About the discovery
- The researchers said this particular black hole is roughly three times the mass of our sun, testing the lower limits of size for these extraordinarily dense objects that possess gravitational pulls so strong that not even light can escape.
- The black hole is located about 1,500 light years (the distance light travels in a year) from Earth.
- The blackhole’s strong gravity alters the shape of its companion star in a phenomenon known as tidal distortion, making it elongated rather than spherical and causing its light to change as it moves along its orbital path. It was these effects on the companion star, observed using Earth-based and orbiting telescopes, that indicated the black hole’s presence.
What is a blackhole?
- Black holes form when massive stars die and their cores collapse.
- There are three categories of black holes:
- The smallest, like ‘the Unicorn,’ are so-called stellar mass black holes formed by the gravitational collapse of a single star.
- There are gargantuan ‘supermassive’ black holes like the one at our galaxy’s center, 26,000 light years from Earth, which is four million times the sun’s mass.
- A few intermediate-mass black holes also have been found with masses somewhere in between.
To know more about blackholes: https://officerspulse.com/blackholes/