An international team, including astronomers from Tel Aviv University, has uncovered the most massive stellar black hole found to date in a binary system.
Published in the prestigious journal Nature this week, the research was conducted by an international team including Professor Tsevi Mazeh, who is the director of the Sackler Institute of Astronomy at Tel Aviv University and holds the Oren Family Chair of Experimental Physics, and his Ph.D. student Avi Shporer.
The newly-discovered black hole is about 16 times the mass of our sun and located three million light-years away in a distant galaxy called Messier 33. The finding is unique because the black hole, named M33 X-7, is associated with an unusually large companion star (its binary pair), with a mass about 70 times the mass of our sun. The two objects move one around the other in space once every 3.5 days in an everlasting dance.
A stellar black hole is formed from the collapse of the core of a massive star at the end of its life. The collapse creates an intense gravitational force, where not even rays of light can escape its gravitational pull, rendering the phenomenon invisible. Matter transferred from the companion star into the black hole falls into the hole’s gravitational attraction and emits X-ray radiation that the astronomers have detected by using special satellites.
"Giant telescopes and satellites make it possible for us to discover in space systems that seem to come from a science-fiction film," says Prof. Mazeh. "We are able to study black holes whose existence we were able to imagine only thanks to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity."
This new discovery raises all sorts of questions about how massive black holes are formed. Prof. Mazeh says that these questions illustrate the enormous scale of the universe and the smallness of the Earth within it. "I hope these discoveries will lead scientists and even human society to a degree of modesty," he noted.
The scientific community has known about black holes orbiting companion stars for 40 years. "This discovery raises doubts about theories of how black holes, like this one, are created," said Prof. Jerome Orosz from San Diego State University, the first contributor of the article. Prof. Orosz led the international teams that analyzed data collected by the Chandra X-ray satellite and the Gemini telescope in Hawaii.
Concludes Prof. Mazeh, "Astronomical measurements allow us to peek into the vastness of space and discover epic events incomparable with anything which takes place on earth."
Beyond the brim, Sombrero Galaxy's halo suggests turbulent past
21.02.2020 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
10,000 times faster calculations of many-body quantum dynamics possible
21.02.2020 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...
Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...
Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices
The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.
Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.
After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.
12.02.2020 | Event News
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
24.02.2020 | Life Sciences
24.02.2020 | Materials Sciences
24.02.2020 | Earth Sciences