A minuscule black hole that is quite close to Earth has been found by astronomers. Its mass is around three times that of the Sun, and it is known as “The Unicorn.”
The newly detected black hole could belong to a new class as the smallest black holes that have been identified so far are at least six times as massive as the Sun.
It had been thought that for a star to collapse in on itself and cause a rip in spacetime, it would need to be at least six times as massive as the Sun.
There are a plethora of ideas about additional possible black holes because to the unicorn.
Don’t let its little size deceive you, however; it still possesses a powerful gravitational force that can engulf everything in its path.
Researchers at Ohio State University stated the black hole was “hiding in plain sight” when they found it.
It is situated in the constellation Monoceros 1,500 light-years away from Earth.
Since the companion star of the unicorn is a red giant, gravitation links the two stars together.
Although the black hole cannot be seen, experts were able to identify it, by the way, by the way, the star’s light changes as it passes behind it.
Tidal distortion, as identified by Ohio State University researchers, was pulling on and altering the form of the red giant.
“Just as the moon’s gravity bends the Earth’s oceans, causing the seas to bulge toward and away from the moon, producing high tides, so does the black hole bend the star into a football-like shape with one axis longer than the other,” said Todd Thompson, co-author of the study, chair of Ohio State’s astronomy department, and university distinguished scholar.
“The simplest explanation is that it’s a black hole – and in this case, the simplest explanation is the most likely one.”
Astronomers have stepped up their search for very low-mass black holes recently in an effort to learn more about the odd objects.
Mr. Thompson continued: “I think the field is pushing toward this, to really map out how many low-mass, how many intermediate-mass, and how many high-mss black holes there are, because every time you find one it gives you a clue about which stars collapse, which explode and which are in between.”
Professor of astronomy at Ohio State Institution, research co-author, and renowned scholar at the university Kris Stanek said: “When you look in a new manner, which is what we’re doing, you uncover other things.
“[Lead author Tharindu Jayasinghe, a doctoral student in astronomy at The Ohio State University] looked at this thing that so many other people had looked at and instead of dismissing the possibility that it could be a black hole, he said, ‘Well, what if it could be a black hole?
Mr. Jayasinghe stated: “When we looked at the data, this black hole – the Unicorn – just popped out.”