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Scientists have discovered a stellar black hole so large that they did not believe it could exist. Stellar black holes occur after stars die, collapse and explode.
70 times greater than our sun
Previously it was believed that they could not be more than 20 times the mass of our sun. However, this new massive black hole called LB-1 has a mass 70 times greater than our sun.
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The news was revealed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. "Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our Galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution," said Prof. LIU Jifeng of the National Astronomical Observatory of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC).
"We thought that very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our Galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds, as they approach the end of their life. Therefore, they should not leave behind such a massive remnant. LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible. Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation."
A couple of theories
Scientists have a couple of theories as to how such a black hole could have come to be. One theory is that it "was not formed from the collapse of only one star," but by rather two smaller black holes orbiting each other.
Another suggests that it emanated from a "fallback supernova." This occurs when an exploding star ejects material which then falls back in creating a black hole.
What the detection of LB-1 proves for sure is that such stellar black holes exist even in our own backyard leading scientists to reconsider all their theories up to now on the celestial bodies. "This discovery forces us to re-examine our models of how stellar-mass black holes form," said LIGO Director Prof. David Reitze from the University of Florida in the U.S.
The findings were published in the journal Nature.