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Scientists discover LB-1, a black hole they didn't believe could exist

4 years 1 week 3 days ago Friday, November 29 2019 Nov 29, 2019 November 29, 2019 10:20 PM November 29, 2019 in News
Source: CNN
Photo: ABC

A recent discovery in our cosmos has expanded our understanding of the universe. 

Scientists say they've found evidence of an incredibly large stellar black hole, an object they didn't believe could exist.

CNN reports that in discovering LB-1, scientists nixed their previously held theory that a stellar black hole can be no more than 20 times the mass of our sun.

LB-1, located about 15,000 light years from Earth, has a mass that clocks in at 70 times greater than our sun's.

The findings were published, Wednesday in a journal called Nature.

Liu Jifeng, the head of the research team that made the discovery said, “Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution. LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible. Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation."

Just as Jifeng stated, theorists are now attempting to explain the black hole’s formation and so far, they've posited several ideas.  

One proposed explanation is that LB-1 is, not the result of one star collapsing in on itself, but of a collision between two smaller black holes that were once orbiting each other.

Another theory is that the debris ejected from a supernova fell right back into the supernova, and in so doing, created a black hole.

While LB-1 is not the biggest black hole ever discovered, it may be the largest of its kind.

There are several types of black holes and while those categorized as 'stellar' (like LB-1) are typically on the smaller side, those labeled as 'supermassive' are generally much bigger.

Now that scientists know how large stellar black holes can become, they're eager to revisit their theories about these cosmic phenomena and their role in our universe. 

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