A junior high school teacher was the first one to spot the ‘mysterious object’ in 1979. It was consuming interstellar gas and giving out X-rays, much like an infant black hole would. At that time, this was actually a star which was in the process of exploding into a supernova. The black hole is situated 50 million light-years away, in one of the Virgo galaxies.
ince then, over a 31 year period, scientists have had the opportunity to study a young black hole from infancy – the first one that they have been able t consistently study from such a young age. Its relative proximity to Earth also helped the process greatly.
Documentation has been consistently carried out through the Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes of the X-rays that have been emitted from the former star at a surprisingly steady rate over a 12-year period.
Called the SN 1979C, the black hole is giving the world a chance to understand one of the most baffling phenomenon of the universe – a black hole.
The scientists say that they believe by studying this mysterious object in the sky, they have been able to see a black hole being born in a normal supernova. Black holes are areas in space where the extreme density of matter ensure that nothing escapes out of it, not even light.
Being able to see study the process right from its infancy is sure to give scientists more insight and understanding into the process. Right now, the scientists have been led to believe that the black hole was made by a star that was twenty times more massive than our sun.
After the supernova collapsed, it left the black hole that now has five times more mass than the sun, is less than 25 miles across, has already consumed mass that is equivalent to the Earth’s; and if it keeps going at this rate is sure to double its mass in another 40 million years.
Another reason why scientists are so excited with this discovery is that now that they know hat X-ray signatures to look for, they can more easily search the skies for more young black holes.