Scientists Discover Closest Black Hole to Earth, Named “Gaia BH1”, Located Just 1,600 Light Years Away

Black hole discovered in the astronomical back yard of Earth
Black hole discovered in the astronomical back yard of Earth; scientists dub it Gaia BH1, Credit: Wikimedia/XMM-Newton, ESA, NASA

Within a black hole, the laws of physics cease to hold. Now we humans have one as a neighbor. This black hole was discovered using the Gemini Observatory in Hawai’i. It is the closest black hole ever found, at just 1,600 light years from Earth. Scientists have named this black hole Gaia BH1. However, it is not as large as a supermassive black hole. To put its size into perspective: Sagittarius A, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, is 2,000 times smaller than the black hole at the center of the galaxy M87*. Gaia BH1 is much smaller than Sagittarius A.

 

In fact, astronomers estimate the presence of over 100 million black holes of this type, called stellar-mass black holes, in our galaxy. A black hole in our astronomical back yard might sound like a sci-fi story plot. In reality, this black hole poses no threat as of now, and is an interesting cosmic discovery.

Copyright @smorescience. All rights reserved. Do not copy, cite, publish, or distribute this content without permission.


Join 20,000+ parents and educators
To get the FREE science digest in your inbox!