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The most massive stellar black hole in the Milky Way has been identified – DNOTICIAS.PT

The most massive stellar black hole in the Milky Way has been identified – DNOTICIAS.PT

The European Southern Observatory (OES) announced today that an international team of scientists, including researchers from Portugal, has identified the most massive stellar black hole in the Milky Way, measuring 33 times the size of the Sun.

The black hole – an object from whose gravity nothing escapes, not even light – was discovered in data from the European Space Agency's (ESA) Gaia mission through a strange “wobble” motion that it imposes on the star it orbits, says OES. He added in a statement, The mass of the black hole BH3 was calculated based on information recorded by the VLT telescope at OES, in Chile, and other ground-based telescopes.

André Moitinho and Marcia Barros, researchers and professors at the Faculty of Science at the University of Lisbon (UL), signed the work published in the specialized journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

In Lusa, Andre Muytinho, a researcher at UL's Centra Center for Astrophysics and Gravitation, said it was “the largest stellar black hole ever found in the Milky Way”, with “the kind of mass that contributes to the production of gravitational waves.” “which have recently begun to be discovered in other galaxies.”

Stellar black holes form from the explosion of a large star, due to its weight, and those in the Milky Way have, on average, a mass less than BH3 – they are about 10 times the mass of the Sun.

BH3 is located 2,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Agia, and is the “second closest black hole” to the “blue planet,” notes OES, an astronomical organization of which Portugal is a part.

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Data collected by the VLT telescope reveal that the star's companion orbiting the black hole is metal-poor, suggesting, according to the authors of the work, that “the star that collapsed to form BH3 would also be metal-poor, as predicted by theory.”

According to astrophysicist Andrei Moytenio, “From a theoretical point of view, only very old stars, formed when the universe was still producing very few chemical elements” known today, “can give rise to black holes of such large masses.” .

The European Space Agency's Gaia mission was launched in 2013 and has a probe in space mapping the Milky Way, the galaxy in which the solar system is located, and of which Earth is a part.

The BH3 black hole, inferred from the motion it imposes on the star it orbits, was discovered during routine data processing.

“From now on, the Gaia mission, in addition to creating an amazing 3D map of our galaxy, will become a machine for detecting black holes,” Andre Moitinho explained.