Monday, July 18, 2022

Zooming in on Binary System VFTS 243: A Hot Blue Star & Black Hole | ESO

Zooming in on Binary System VFTS 243: A Hot Blue Star & Black Hole | ESO

In this video, we get to fly out from our home galaxy and into the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. The LMC is the home of one of the brightest known nebulae, the Tarantula Nebula, that was discovered in the mid-18th century. The Tarantula Nebula hosts the binary system VFTS 243, where this video eventually ends. The system might seem like a lone hot blue star, but the other component is in fact invisible to us: a black hole, weighing at least nine times the mass of our Sun, and about 200,000 times smaller than its stellar companion.

A team of international experts, renowned for debunking several black hole discoveries, have found a stellar-mass black hole in the Large Magellanic Cloud. "For the first time, our team got together to report on a black hole discovery, instead of rejecting one," says study leader Tomer Shenar. Moreover, they found that the star that gave rise to the black hole vanished without any sign of a powerful explosion. The discovery was made thanks to six years of observations obtained with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Very Large Telescope (VLT).

Stellar-mass black holes are formed when massive stars reach the end of their lives and collapse under their own gravity. In a binary, a system of two stars revolving around each other, this process leaves behind a black hole in orbit with a luminous companion star. The black hole is ‘dormant’ if it does not emit high levels of X-ray radiation, which is how such black holes are typically detected. 

Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/N. Risinger ( Gendler, ESO/M.-R. Cioni/VISTA Magellanic Cloud survey. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit. Music: John Dyson

Duration: 50 seconds

Release Date: July 18, 2022

#NASA #ESO #Astronomy #Space #LMC #Galaxy #TarantulaNebula #BinarySystem #VFTS243 #BlackHoles #Cosmos #Universe #VLT #Telescope #Observatory #Chile #Europe #STEM #Education #HD #Video

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