Black holes have always been a mystery for humans. For decades, researchers have been keenly looking at various questions related to black holes. Recently, scientists have found the nearest black hole to the Earth. It is a tiny object dubbed ‘The Unicorn’ which is just about 1500 light-years away from us. In this article, we are going to know more about the Unicorn black hole and what is so special about it!
The Unicorn Black Hole
Black holes are of different sizes, from big and medium ones to the massive ones at the centre of the galaxy. But there have been no signs of small black holes, but astronomers have now found a small black hole that is just three times the mass of the Sun. This makes it the smallest black hole found till now and is coincidentally the closest to Earth. Its incredibly small mass gives it the name ‘the Unicorn’.
An astronomer at the Ohio State University, Tharindu Jayasinghe claimed that the discovery implies that there are many more small black holes that we could find out if we simply increased the space we have searched for. The discovery should create a push to find more of these systems.
Through the study of Unicorn, researchers believed that they could get more information, and create a clearer picture regarding stars and their collapses. It will make clear that why some holes collapse to become black holes whereas some leave behind them dense husks called neutron stars.
How was Unicorn found?
There is no direct way to find black holes since no light can escape from a black hole. Most of the black holes are found by tracking the X-ray radiations emitted when an invisible object pulls material off an orbiting companion star.
But the Unicorn was found in a different way. Jayasinghe’s team used information from various observatories to detect the periodic changes occurring in the spectrum and brightness of light, emitted from the red giant star, V723 Mon. The data gave the combined mass of an unseen companion object and the red giant.
If the star is heavier than the companion, the possibility is that the unseen object is a neutron star. But the team believes that the object is most likely a black hole, extremely small in size.
It went unnoticed till now because the black hole isn’t pulling any material off it. So, there are no x-ray emissions, thus it was a lot unnoticed.
Todd Thompson, chair of Ohio State’s astronomy department said in a statement that just like a moon’s gravity distorts Earth’s oceans, which causes the seas to bulge and away from the moon, which produces tides. Just like that, a black hole distorts the star into a ball-like object with one axis.
The velocity of the red giant, the distortion of the red giant and the period of orbit suggested to them the mass of the black hole. They concluded that the black hole was about three times the mass of the Sun.
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Can more such black holes be found?
Such super-lightweight black holes are very few in number and are quite difficult to find. Black holes are primarily found by noticing the impact they create on their surroundings. Larger the black hole, the easier it to detect the impact and vice versa. So such small black holes are hard to find.
Efforts have been made continuously to find these low-mass black holes. Especially in the last few years, more researches are in continuation. The study of black holes and neutron star is very crucial for us since it tells us crucial information regarding the birth and death of stars.
As astronomers will get more information, they will hope to learn more about these small black holes. Whether these small holes are scattered throughout the galaxy or not.
Black holes have been a question for the human race. Recently, researchers have found out a Unicorn black hole, which is the smallest black hole. It is around 1500 light-years away from us and is nearly three times the mass of the Sun. It is discovered nearby the red giant star, V723 Mon. It wasn’t found in the common way to find black holes but was found differently. Continuously, more researches are in continuation for finding more such systems of small black holes. As they will get more information, more things will get clear regarding black holes and how stars take
Frequently Asked Questions
Q- What type of black hole is the unicorn?
Answer – The Unicorn black hole is a stellar mass black hole which are formed when during the gravitational collapse of a star.
Q- Where is the unicorn black hole located?
Answer – The Unicorn is located around 1500 light years away from the Earth, near the red giant star V723 Mon.
Q- Is Earth at the danger from a black hole?
Answer – No. No black hole is at such distance from the Earth to cause any damage to it.
Q- Will the Unicorn black hole hit Earth?
Answer – No, the Unicorn black hole won’t reach Earth and will not cause any harm to it.
Q- What size black hole can destroy or damage Earth?
Answer – An astronomer at the University of Leicester said that a black hole with a size of 1mm will still have a mass of around 10% of Earth. If it hovers above the surface, the gravitational pull will cover one-third of the planet. This would tear up the planet at a rate of 12 kilometres per second.
Q- What is inside a black hole?
Answer – They are termed as holes but they aren’t holes though. They don’t produce any light, instead they eat up light. Everything around the black hole sucks inside the black hole. Essentially, black holes are a lot of matter condensed into a small region.