Astronomers find the closest black hole to Earth and call it the “unicorn”.

Scientists have found a black hole that is not only the smallest ever discovered, but also the closest to Earth.

The black hole is in the Milky Way – 1,500 light years from here, in a constellation called Monoceros – Greek for “one-horned rhinoceros”. As an allusion to the uniquely compact size of the black hole, as well as the name of the constellation, scientists named it. ‘unicorn. ‘

And while black holes are fairly common in the universe, as are their discoveries, what is unique about it is that it was so close to us and yet managed to go undetected. Scientists reportedly never paid much attention to this because they didn’t believe that a black hole could be that small – black holes generally have a solar mass (a unit of measure) of 5 and above – meaning they are at least five times as large Mass of the sun. The unicornOn the other hand, it’s only 3 solar masses, or three times the solar mass.

“When we looked at the data, this black hole was – that unicorn – just showed up, ”says Tharindu Jayasinghe, who has just finished his Ph.D. from the Department of Astronomy at Ohio State University in the US, and directed the study, told the press.

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In the past, scientists had noticed that a giant red star in the sky was dragged by something – as if it were “dancing with an invisible partner,” wrote Jonathan O’Callaghan, a science writer, in Quanta Magazine. However, no one but Jayasingle paused to believe that this invisible partner could actually be a black hole.

Publish soon in the Monthly notices from the Royal Astronomical SocietyThe study focused on this “invisible partner” armed with Jayasighe’s hypothesis and analyzed data from a variety of telescopes and satellites. Based on the red star’s speed, its orbital time, and the gravitational pull it appeared to be experiencing, the researchers concluded that it might be a black hole and determined its strange solar mass.

“Just as the moon’s gravity distorts the earth’s oceans and the seas arches back and forth towards the moon, creating high tides, so the black hole distorts the star into a football-like shape, with one axis longer than the other.” Todd Thompson, a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University who co-authored the study, said in a statement.

“The simplest explanation is that it is a black hole,” he added, “and in this case the simplest explanation is the most likely.”