A new massive black hole has been discovered that is around 70 times the mass of the Sun. However, earlier researchers believed that it could be only 20 times that of the Sun. The size is much bigger than a black hole that can possibly exist in the Milky Way. Dubbed as LB-1, the black hole has given sleepless nights to researchers as they are busy in figuring out how it got so big. According to Jifeng Liu, scientist of National Astronomical Observatory, such a massive black hole should not exist. Liu said that LB-1 is twice as big as what researchers imagined to be possible
The study has been published in the journal Nature in which scientists of the Chinese Academy of Sciences detail their discovery of LB-1. Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope or LAMOST was used by them to search the black hole. Using the telescope, they found stars orbiting an invisible object. Scientists then observed it using telescopes in the United States and Spain which led to a discovery a star. This star is eight times bigger than the sun and orbiting the black hole every 79 days. This black hole is located over 15,000 light-years from Earth. Researchers compare this discovery to searching a needle in a haystack and this is because only one in a thousand stars may be orbiting a black hole.
The newly discovered black hole has become one of the topics of interest in the Milky Way and researchers are expected to carry on a series of follow-up observations to understand it. LIGO director David Reitze said the latest discovery has forced us to re-examine our models which describe the formation of black holes. David Reitze was not part of the team that discovered LB-1. This discovery along with the LIGO-Virgo detections of binary black holes has pointed towards a new beginning of the understanding of black hole astrophysics. This is because of the reason that for the first time such a black hole has been found in the Milky Way.