Scientists Discover the Nearest Black Hole to Our Solar System Ever Found

by Emily Morgan

Astronomers have recently found the nearest known black hole to our solar system. According to scientists, the black hole is 1,570 lightyears away and ten times larger than our sun. 

Known as Gaia BH1, the research was led by Harvard Society Fellow astrophysicist Kareem El-Badry, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA).

In addition, El-Badry worked with researchers from CfA, MPIA, Caltech, UC Berkeley, the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA), the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Observatoire de Paris, MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, and other universities.

Their research paper that describes their observations is set to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

According to El-Badry, these observations were part of a broader research project to identify dormant black hole companions to stars in the Milky Way galaxy. “I’ve been searching for dormant black holes for the last four years using a wide range of datasets and methods,” he said.

He added: “My previous attempts turned up a diverse menagerie of binaries that masquerade as black holes, but this was the first time the search has borne fruit.”

El-Badry and his colleagues used data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia Observatory for the study. They have spent nearly ten years looking into the positions, distances, and motions of almost one billion astronomical items, such as stars, planets, comets, asteroids, and galaxies.

Polish astronomist proposes wild theory about black hole

In the last year, there’s been a resurgence of interest in space travel thanks to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and NASA’s upcoming Artemis Missions and their recent stellar snaps. With this, topics such as space travel and black holes have also been hot topics. Now, according to Polish theoretical physicist Nikodem Poplawski, getting up close and personal to black holes and multiverses might be what’s next on the celestial horizon. 

“Our entire universe could exist inside a black hole that in turn is part of another universe,” he said in an interview. 

According to astronomers, black holes range in size from microscopic to giant. The biggest black hole to date is about 8.5 billion lightyears away at the center of the Phoenix Galaxy cluster. The black hole is about 100 billion times larger than the sun, with a diameter of 590 billion kilometers. In addition, it weighs about 10 percent of the mass of our Milky Way galaxy.

Nikodem also theorizes that black holes might be our ticket to the multiverse. “A baby universe is a separate, closed spacetime branch with its own timeline,” he explained. 

He also claimed that the baby universe is always bigger than the parent black hole “because it is on the other side of the event horizon. It is like Tardis in Doctor Who. You enter the police box, and you realize that you are in something bigger than the box.”