Scientists Discover Largest Black Hole In The Milky Way

Scientists from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission recently located a black hole with a mass of 33 solar masses, making it the largest black hole ever discovered in the Milky Way galaxy.

The Debrief revealed the discovery which was made after Gaia’s fourth data release. This revelation could provide more information on the formation frequency of black holes throughout the universe.

The black hole was named Gaia BH3 and is part of a binary system that is located nearly 600 parsecs from Earth, according to the Blaze. Such a discovery is significant considering the black hole’s mass and the challenges it poses toward current models of stellar evolution as well as the formation of black holes.

“Black holes are mysterious regions in space where the gravitational pull is so strong that not even light can escape it. While they are not visible to the naked eye, they are usually identified by the high-energy radiation emitted when they interact with other stars or gas clouds,” the Blaze wrote.

Unlike other black holes, Gaia BH3 does not interact with its companion star, making it a “dormant” black hole.

A Gaia collaboration member, Pasquale Panuzzo, said, “No one was expecting to find a high-mass black hole lurking nearby, undetected so far. This is the kind of discovery you make once in your research life.”

On its website, Gaia noted that its mission is to establish a “precise three-dimensional” map containing the millions of stars in the Milky Way and elsewhere. The organization’s goal is to discover the stars’ characteristics, such as their luminosity and composition.

“This huge stellar census will provide the data needed to tackle an enormous range of important questions related to the origin, structure and evolutionary history of our galaxy,” the website states.

In a statement, another member of the Gaia collaboration, Elisabetta Caffau, said, “What strikes me is that the chemical composition of the companion is similar to what we find in old metal-poor stars in the galaxy.”

“There is no evidence that this star was contaminated by the material flung out by the supernova explosion of the massive star that became BH3,” Caffau added.