sn-chandra.jpg

X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude et al; Optical: ESO/VLT, Infrared: NASA/JPL/Caltech

ScienceShot: Astronomers Spot Baby Black Hole in Our Galactic Neighborhood

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Kristen Minogue
2010-11-15 16:09
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Astronomers may have found the youngest black hole ever seen in our cosmic neighborhood: light from a then-30-year-old toddler located in a galaxy 50 million light-years away. Scientists have seen infant black holes before, but they've never been able to nail down an exact birthday. The new one, spotted with NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, is the aftermath of a supernova observed in 1979, when a star roughly 20 times the mass of the sun collapsed in on itself. However, researchers are still not sure it's really a black hole. It could be a neutron star, a small, extremely dense object that can also form from a supernova. That would be even cooler, astronomers say, as it would be the youngest neutron star ever observed.

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