May 19, 2024

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The largest black hole in the Milky Way Galaxy lurks near Earth

The largest black hole in the Milky Way Galaxy lurks near Earth

The Milky Way Galaxy contains a newly discovered massive black hole lurking near Earth! This sleeping giant was discovered by the European Gaia space telescope, which tracks the movement of billions of stars in our galaxy.

Stellar-mass black holes are created when a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses. The new discovery is a milestone, as it represents the first time that a large black hole of this origin has been found near Earth.

The stellar-mass black hole, called Gaia-BH3, is 33 times more massive than our Sun. The previous most massive black hole of this class found in the Milky Way was a black hole in the X-ray binary in the constellation Cygnus (Cyg X-1), which has an estimated mass of about 20 times that of the Sun. The average stellar black hole in the Milky Way is about 10 times heavier than the Sun.