Updated: Nov 30, 2019
The Big Picture:
An international team of astronomers from China, the United States, Spain, Australia, Italy, Poland, and the Netherlands have discovered the impossible: a black hole so large it shouldn't even exist!
The team, headed by Professor Liu Jifeng of the National Astronomical Observatory of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, spotted a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times greater than our Sun. This monster black hole is located 15,000 light-years from Earth and has been named LB-1. The discovery is reported in the latest issue of Nature.
More Deets for the Astronomy Geeks:
Professor Jifeng's team surveyed the sky with China's Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), looking for stars that orbit an invisible object, pulled by its gravity. The world's largest optical telescopes—Spain's 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias in the Canary Islands and the United States' 10-meter Keck I telescope in Hawaii—were used to determine the system's physical parameters. They revealed a star eight times the mass of our Sun orbiting this monster black hole every 79 days. Source
Image Credit: Artist Impression, YU Jingchuan, Beijing Planetarium, 2019.