In 2020, a team of astronomers used European Southern Observatory (ESO) Discover the The closest black hole to Earth in HR 6819, only 1,000 light-years away, just to make other scientists question the results.
As it turns out, those critics seemed to be right. In new research, an international team of scientists led by researcher Abigail Frost of KU Leuven in Belgium refutes the existence of Black hole In HR 6819.
The original research, published in a 2020 paper by ESO astronomer Thomas Rivinius, determined that HR 6819 was a triple system, with one star orbiting closely around a black hole and another star in a wide orbit. But the 2020 study was conducted by Julia Bodensteiner, who then received her Ph.D. A candidate at KU Leuven and now a fellow at ESO, he hypothesized that a system could also contain only two stars if one stripped and absorbed a lot of the other’s mass, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “stellar vampire. ”
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The trio of researchers decided to work as a team to investigate HR 6819 more closely and determine the most likely explanation.
“The scenarios we were looking at were fairly straightforward, very different and easily identifiable with the right tool,” Rivinius He said in a statement. “We agreed that there were two light sources in the system, so the question was whether they were each orbiting close together, as in the naked star scenario, or if they were far apart, as in the black hole scenario.”
While Rivinius’ original research was based on observations collected with a relatively small telescope, the new team has turned to ESO. very large telescope (VLT) and the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) for their research — two powerful instruments based in Chile that can produce more detailed images of HR 6,819 than the instruments used in Revinius’ first study.
With the most powerful observations, the situation at HR 6819 was clear – there are only two stars in a narrow orbit, and there is no black hole to speak of. But the absence of a black hole is nothing to be sad about.
“Our best explanation to date is that we detected this binary system at an instant shortly after a star sucked the atmosphere off its companion star,” Bodensteiner said in the statement. This interpretation confirms the stellar vampire theory.
“Catching up on the post-interaction phase is extremely difficult because it is so short,” Frost said in the statement. “This makes our findings regarding HR 6819 very exciting, as it presents an ideal candidate for studying how vampires influence the evolution of massive stars, and thus the formation of associated phenomena, including gravitational waves and violence. Supernova explosions. “
The results are described in paper Published Wednesday (March 2) in the Journal of Astronomy & Astrophysics.
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