Researchers retract Black Hole System HR 6819 claims of housing every black hole

Two team of astronomers have teamed up to prove the existence of a black hole system without a black hole. Located a stone’s throw away from 1,000 light-years, the black hole identified is actually a “vampire” two-star system at a rare and short-lived stage in its evolution. The observations for this were made using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). Read all about the identified black hole system below.

In a research paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, a team of researchers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and KU Leuven, Belgium stated that an asteroid is relatively the densest ever identified. Initially, in 2020, ESO astronomers came up with the discovery of the closest black hole to Earth in a black hole system called HR 6819.

The study received much praise and media attention. But was soon contradicted by another group of astronomers from the Ku Leuven in Belgium, who proposed a different explanation for the same data: HR 6819 could also be a system with only two stars in orbit for 40 days and no black hole at all. This alternate scenario would require one of the stars to be “stripped,” meaning it had lost much of its mass to the other star at an earlier time.

What is a black hole system?

A binary black hole (BBH) is a system made up of two black holes orbiting each other closely. Like black holes themselves, binary black holes are often divided into stellar binary black holes, formed either as remnants of massive binary star systems or through dynamic processes and mutual capture; and binary supermassive black holes, believed to be the result of galactic mergers.

For years it has been difficult to prove the existence of binary black holes due to the nature of black holes themselves and the limited means of detection available. However, in the event that a pair of black holes merged, a tremendous amount of energy would have to be released as gravitational waves, with signature waveforms that can be calculated using general relativity.

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