Birth Of A Black Hole Observed By Scientists For The First Time

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Birth Of A Black Hole Observed By Scientists For The First Time

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Researchers in a recent study have revealed that an observation was made of a mysterious bright object that lit up the night sky. This sudden glow spotted from Earth, 200 million light years away disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. Scientists believe it may have been the exact moment that a star collapsed into a compact object. This might be the birth of a black hole or a neutron star. 

The Cow

Nicknamed ‘The Cow’, the formation of a blackhole is the direct result of a star’s death. The scientists also said that such a phenomenon, the birth of a black hole, has never been witnessed before. Raffaella Margutti, was leading the research for Northwestern University when the phenomenon was spotted.  “We thought it must be a supernova,” Margutti said. “But what we observed challenged our current notions of stellar death.”

The bright light was initially thought to have come from a bright star. However, the scientists changed their view because the flash was 100 times brighter than a normal supernova. The outburst was discovered using the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System also known as ATLAS. ATLAS are a pair of survey telescopes in Hawaii.

Copyright Raffaella Margutti/Northwestern University

After the outburst was seen, various scientists researched the reason for the phenomenon using different methods. According to reports, Margutti’s team studied The Cow in X-ray wavelengths using NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency’s International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) and XMM-Newton spacecraft.  Radio waves were studied using the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Very Large Array (VLA) and in optical light using the MMT Observatory in Arizona and the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope in Chile. 

Margutti’s team announced its results on Jan 10 during a news conference. The conference was held at the 233rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle. Several other scientists gave their own hypothesis of the phenomenon as well. However, not all of them agreed with each other. But if it is indeed the birth of a black hole that they saw, it would definitely be a scientific milestone of this century. 


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Souradeep Roy
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