‘The Unicorn', closest known black hole to Earth
- Posted By
Science & Technology
23rd Apr, 2021
Scientists named a newly discovered and the closest to our solar system black hole, in the Milky Way galaxy, as Unicorn. It may be the smallest known black hole.
- Characteristics: It is roughly three times the mass of our sun.
- The black hole is located about 1,500 light-years away from Earth.
- A luminous star known as a red giant, orbits with the black hole in a binary star system, named V723 Mon.
- It is nicknamed as the Unicorn' partly because V723 Mon is in the Monoceros constellation that translates to unicorn and partly because it is a unique system.
- The Unicorn is said to be the smallest known black hole.
- It is thought to be formed by the gravitational collapse of a single star.
- 'The Unicorn' falls into a "mass gap", that is between, the largest-known neutron at around 2.2 times the mass of our sun and the smallest black holes at around five times the sun's mass.
- Its strong gravity causes the tidal distortion which alters the shape of its companion star.
- It makes the star elongated rather than spherical and causes its light to change as it moves along its orbital path.
Blackholeand its subtypes
- A black hole is a region of space-timewhere gravity is extremely strong that no object can escape from it.
- Types: There are two types of black holes which become three with the discovery:
- Stellar-mass black holes: These are the black holes witha mass of fewer than 100 times that of the Sun.
- Supermassive black holes (SMBH): These are the ones with a mass greater than 100,000 times that of the Sun.
- Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs): These are a class of a black hole with a mass approximately 100 to 100,000 times that of the Sun.
- Both stellar black holes and SMBHs are commonly found.
Some of the discovered black holes
- The closest black hole to Earth is a part of the system HR 6819 and is active just 1,000 light-years from earth
- The smallest known black hole is GRO J0422+32. It was discovered in 1992 at around 7,800 light-years from us.
- A supermassive black hole called Sgr A* and is 26,000 light-years from Earth. It holds a mass of at least 40 lakh times the Sun’s.
- The first-ever black hole detected was Cygnus X-1 in 1964.