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This Black Hole Has More Than Twice The Mass That Scientists Thought Was Possible

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This Black Hole Has More Than Twice The Mass That Scientists Thought Was Possible

A Chinese-led group of scientists has discovered a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times that of the sun, much denser than previously thought possible.

The researchers announced their discovery of the black hole, named LB-1 and a little under 15,000 light-years from Earth, in the journal Nature.

'Black Hole Of Such Mass Should Not Exist'

“Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our Galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution,” Liu Jifeng, a professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of China, said in a news release. "LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible. Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation."

According to the release from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, scientists had estimated that individual stellar black holes in our galaxy would likely have a mass no more than 20 or 25 times that of the sun.

Black holes, which are formed by the collapse of massive stars and so dense that even light can't escape, dot the Milky Way galaxy, which has an estimated 100 million of them.

How Do You Even Find A Black Hole?

To find stellar black holes, the research team surveyed the sky with China's Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope, searching for stars that orbit something that is pulling the star with its gravity, but is invisible. That would be a black hole.

After the team found the black hole, it measured its physical parameters with the world's largest optical telescopes, one in Spain and one in the United States. What they found was a star eight times heavier than our Sun, orbiting a black hole with 70 times the mass of the Sun every 79 days.

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