Scientists have discovered one of the smallest black holes on record, and the closest one to Earth found to date. Researchers have dubbed it the Unicorn, primarily because of its one-of-a-kind characteristic, and in part, because it was found in the constellation Monoceros- The Unicorn. Thairandu Jayasinghe, who was the lead author of the study reiterated that when his team was looking at the data, the small hole, the Unicorn popped up in front of their eyes.
The Unicorn is three times the mass of our sun, tiny for a black hole. Very few black holes of this mass have been found and existed in the Universe. The black hole appears to be a companion of the red giant star, meaning that the two are interconnected with gravity. Scientists can’t see the black hole – they are, by definition, dark, not only visually, but to the tools, astronomers use to measure light and other wavelengths.
They can now see the black hole’s companion star, which hasn’t been the case in the history of stars and constellations. The star has been well documented by equipped systems including KELT, run out of Ohio State. When Jayasinghe and other researchers analyzed the data, they noticed something they couldn’t see appeared to be orbiting the red giant star. It caused the light from the star to change in intensity and appearance at various points around the orbit.
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