Cosmologists have detected the closest black hole to Earth ever discovered using a telescope, at La Silla Observatory in Chile. It was led by Chile-based European Southern Observatory astronomer Thomas Rivinius. He is the lead author of the study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. Black holes are extraordinarily dense objects that possess gravitational pulls so magnificent that not even light can get away.
The newly discovered HR 6819 is 4.2 times the mass of the sun. It is gravitationally bound to two stars in a system named the triple system. The disclosure of a closer black hole is in the constellation Telescopium in the Southern Hemisphere. Roughly 1,000 light-years from Earth, the earlier nearest system was about three times further, about 3,200 light-years away. On a starry evening, one can see the triple system from Earth’s southern hemisphere with the naked eye. The closest being ‘HR 6819’, is one of just a few covert black holes ever found.
A solar eclipse happens on Earth when the moon passes between us and our home star. On a speculative planet circling the inward star in HR 6819, the black hole would frequently overshadow the furthest star. In any case, rather than shutting out the external star’s light, the black hole would act as an amplifying glass. Watchers of this strange eclipse would see an amplified gleaming circle encompassed by a totally pitch black ring.
In the words of Avi Loeb, the director of Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative, “If you find an ant while scanning a tiny fraction of your kitchen, you know there must be many more out there.” It hints to the possibility that there are many more out there, some even closer!