June 8, 2023


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ESA. Two black holes Gaia BH1 and Gaia BH2 have been discovered near Earth

Analysis of data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia probe has revealed the existence of two unusual black holes – Gaia BH1 and Gaia BH2. On a cosmic scale, the objects are so close to Earth — 1,560 and 3,800 light-years away, respectively — that they remain completely invisible, according to TVP Nauka.

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The objects are located in the constellation Ophiuchus and the Centaurus constellation. They were discovered by studying the movement of stars accompanying them. Anomalies of the positions of the stars in the sky indicate that they are orbiting very massive objects – in either case, these objects are ten times more massive than our sun.

Other explanations for these massive companions, such as binary star systems, have been ruled out because they don’t seem to emit any light. – This is a very interesting observation using the European Space Agency’s Gaia space probe – Acknowledges Dr. Maciej Wilgus of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn and the Astronomical Center of Nicolaus Copernicus Bahn.

– This is the first time we have seen a binary system with such a large separation (distance) between them Black hole And a star revolves around it. The fact that we have observed such a system so close to us (“only” about 3,800 light-years away) suggests that this is not an unusual formation, and perhaps the universe is full of such systems – the problem is that we fully understand how they might actually form. Theoretical astrophysicists must now act urgently before a new, more accurate survey of the sky with the ESA Gaia probe shows the presence of dozens more objects of this type, according to TVP Nauka.

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Until recently, nearly all black holes known to astronomers were detected by an emission of radiation—usually in the X-ray and radio range—from falling hot material. The Gaia BH1 and Gaia BH2 black holes are completely dark and can only be detected by gravitational effects..

Objects near Earth (ESA graph)
Objects near Earth (ESA graph)

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A star black hole pair

Star distances to black holes and orbits stars Around them is much larger than other known binary systems of this type. The closest stellar-black hole pairs, called X-ray binaries, are usually very bright in X-rays and radio, and therefore easy to find.

“What distinguishes this new group of black holes from those we already knew about is their great distance from their companion stars. These black holes likely have a very different formation history than X-ray binaries,” explains Karim El-Badry of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the US. and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg.

A new type of black hole discovered by the European Space Agency’s Gaia telescope emits no radiation, making it almost invisible, possibly because it is so far away from its companion stars. Gaia BH1 and Gaia BH2 have been shown to have orbits far from the companion stars of any known companion star.


The fact that they are the closest known black holes indicates that many similar objects in vast binary systems have yet to be discovered. “This is very exciting because (the discovery) indicates that these black holes in wide orbits are, in fact, common in space,” says Yvette Cendez of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the US.

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# Black hole

# Sciences

# astronomy