Scientists Have Discovered The Closest Black Hole To Earth, And It’s Massive

A new black hole was discovered 1,600 light years away, making it the closest recorded to our planet.

By James Brizuela | Published

Technology has undoubtedly ramped up in recent years, and that is especially true for the capabilities of the current telescopes that are being used to see things far off into space. The emergence of greater technology in telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope has allowed scientists and astronomers to capture images of planets, stars, and more with more excellent quality. However, now scientists have discovered the closest black hole (Gaia BH1) to our solar system, and it is 100 times larger than the Sun.

The Gemini North telescope that operates out of Hawai’i at NSF’s NOIRLab discovered the dormant black hole, which weighs 10 times that of the sun. The good news is that the black hole seems to be dormant, meaning it is likely not to suck everything up in a dramatic fashion to shoot it somewhere else in the universe. The team of scientists discovered that this black hole is 1,600 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus, making it the closest recorded black hole.

black hole

The Milky Way Galaxy likely contains billions of black holes, though only around 20 have ever been confirmed in our galaxy so far. Scientists are baffled about this black hole because it is not behaving in the same manner that most others do, which is mostly dragging a star into its orbit or using its gravity to consume everything nearby. However, a much scarier notion is that this black hole is waiting for space to feed it, which makes it seem like some sort of space spider waiting for something to be caught in its web.

Gaia BH1 is the first unambiguous detection of a black hole discovered orbiting a sun-like star that orbits a massive black hole, according to the astronomers that have discovered it. Again, the word here is that the potential planet eater is completely dormant, so time will tell if it becomes alive or activated and begins to consume the star it is orbiting or anything else around it. Still, the idea that a black hole is that close to our solar system is a bit scary to think about.

It is exciting to think about the technology taking another step forward in allowing scientists to continue to record the deepest reaches of space, though it is also frightening to think about what may be lurking closer to our own solar system. Granted, finding a black hole some 1,600 light-years away is no cause for concern just yet, but should that black hole begin to operate in the way that most do, we could be seeing a bit more panic from the science community. Hopefully, this thing stays dormant for as long as possible, or we figure out how to colonize another planet out of reach.

For now, everyone is safe from this black hole, though finding one this close could mean more are bound to be discovered. Hopefully, the others that may be close by are going to be dormant as well, otherwise, our Sun could be killed and our planet along with it. That is a bit morbid, but space is quite scary at times.