The black hole closest to Earth isn’t as we thought it would; Comprehension – 03/03/2022

The black hole closest to Earth isn't as we thought it would;  Comprehension - 03/03/2022

Black hole closest to Earth Recognized in 2020, It’s nothing like what we thought. In fact, it doesn’t even exist. Astronomers corrected the finding: it is a “vampire” system, with one star sucking the life out of another.

In 2020, a team at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced a black hole four times the mass of the Sun, just 1,120 light-years away, the closest to Earth, in the HR 6819 system. Leuven, Belgium disputed the discovery. ,

Together the two groups conducted a new study clarifying the information. this was published yesterday (2), In the Journal Astronomy and AstrophysicsWith the self-explanatory title “HR 6819 is a binary system without a black hole”.

The article suggests that, in fact, there is no black hole at the site, but a system of two stars, which are in a rare and short-lived stage of their evolution, in which one absorbs the other. These “vampire” stars behave.

naked star

The first team’s hypothesis that it was a black hole was based on assumptions that had not been properly tested. At the time, the best explanation for the telescope data was that HR 6819 was a triple system, with two massive stars orbiting a black hole—one very close, in a 40-day orbit, and one very distant.

However, the same data was interpreted by the Belgians in another way: it could be just two stars, very close together in a 40-day orbit, with no black holes in between.

And this scenario would only work if one of the stars was “naked”, that is, it had lost a good portion of its mass. A very light star would complete the calculation, requiring no invisible third element in the system.

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Since they were already at the limit of existing data, the two teams worked together to obtain new, sharper information using the state-of-the-art VLT (Very Large Telescope) telescope and its interferometer (VLTI) in southern Chile.

“We agreed that there were two sources of light in the system. The question then was whether they orbited each other, describing close orbits, as occurs in the ‘naked’ star landscape, or if , on the contrary, they were far from each other, as in the black hole scenario,” Thomas Rivinius, an astronomer at ESO in Chile and lead author of the first paper, explained in a statement.

To differentiate between the two hypotheses, the researchers used instruments called the Gravity on the VLTI telescope and the Muse (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) on the VLT.

Astrophysicist Abigail said, “The museum confirmed that there is no bright companion in outermost orbit, while the spatial resolution of gravity was able to separate the two sources of light, which are only about a third of the distance between Earth and the Sun.” was different.” Frost, who led the data comparison.

The region of the sky, in the Telescope constellation, where the HR 6819 or QV Tail system, as visible from the Southern Hemisphere, is located

Image: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

cosmic vampirism

Then, the astronomers’ new joint explanation was that they were observing a system shortly after one of the stars had “sucked up” the atmosphere of its companion. Known as stellar vampirism, this is a common phenomenon in near binary systems.

After stealing a portion of the victim’s contents, the “Vampire” star began to spin more quickly, acquiring an oval shape and a disk around it.

“It is extremely difficult to observe such a post-interaction phase, because its duration is so short,” says Frost. “That’s what makes our discovery so interesting, presenting it an ideal candidate for studying how this type of vampirism affects the evolution of massive stars and, in turn, related gravitational waves and violent supernova explosions, including formation of events.”

It would be far more interesting to have a black hole in this proximity, a game-changer in astronomy, but their search continues.

HR 6819 is dimly visible from Earth to the naked eye, looking like a single, very dim star in the telescope constellation. It is also called QV telescopy in the Celestial Catalog, and can be seen from the Southern Hemisphere, on very dark and clear nights, preferably with binoculars or binoculars.

About the author: Raven Weber

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