We have long been captivated by black holes ever since Karl Schwarzchild postulated their existence in 1916. Back then, it served as a justification for resolving Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In the middle of the 20th century, astronomers discovered black holes by observing how they impacted the nearby celestial objects. Supermassive black holes (SMBHs), which are found in the universe’s most massive galaxies, were the subject of research in the 1980s.
The first-ever photograph of an SMBH was published in 2019 by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration. The observations enable researchers to test the physics laws to the extreme conditions. These findings may reveal new information about the origin of the cosmos.
In a recent research, data from the ESA’s Gaia Observatory showed that a sun-like star had an unusual orbital rotation. The researchers came to the conclusion that it must be a part of a black hole binary system because of the orbit’s somewhat peculiar nature.
This makes it the closest black hole to our solar system and suggests that our galaxy has several dormant black holes.
The study was led by Kareem El-Badry, a Harvard Society astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for physics (CfA) & Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA). It was developed by researchers from CfA, MPIA, Caltech, UC Berkeley, the Flatiron Institutes’ Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA), the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Paris Observatory, MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, and several universities supports . This paper presents the results of and was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The observations were created as a part of a bigger search for dormant black holes companions to normal star in our galaxy. El-Badry and therefore the group used information from the ESA Gaia Observatory for this study. The investigation they conducted yielded a good candidate, a G-Type (yellow star) called Gaia DR3 with a big number following the DR3, which they designated Gaia BH1 for their purposes. El-Badry and his colleagues based from the orbital solution that this star must have a binary companion of a dormant black hole.
“The Gaia data constrain how the star travels in the sky, tracing-out an ellipse as it orbits the black hole,” El-Badry said in a release. The orbit’s size and period confine the mass of the unseen companion to roughly 10 solar masses. The star was studied spectrographically with a number of additional observatories to make sure this was the accurate information and not a non-black hole companion. This solidified our limits on the companion’s mass and demonstrated that it truly is “dark”. In other words , companion was so dense that it was absorbing the matter and light around it.
The researchers can monitor and estimate the gravitational forces acting on the orbit by using the spectra generated by these devices, which is a technique similar to that used to search for exoplanets (Doppler Spectroscopy). Follow-up observations revealed that the Gaia BH1 orbital solution was that it was co-orbiting with a companion body of 10 solar masses. This would confirm that the black hole orbiting Gaia BH1 was the first black hole found in the Milky Way galaxy without the assistance of X-ray emissions or other energetic releases.