Last week the NASA Rossi X Ray Timing Explorer may have found the smallest known black hole. Using the RTXE, which can detect X rays coming from cosmic sources, a group of astronomers have been able to identify an X ray pattern, known as a ‘hearbeat’. This indicates that a black hole is present in a binary system with the ordinary star.
Astronomers calculations say that the black hole is located between 16,000 to 56,000 lights years away from Earth (they are still working on the distance calculations). The black hole is said to be three times the mass of the Sun, which means that the original star itself was just big enough to form a black hole. Our Sun isn’t big enough to form a black hole at the end of the life cycle.
Forbes add “The “heartbeat” pattern is caused by the regular cycles of matter accumulated into the black hole from its neighboring star..
The astronomers plan to use this new data in conjunction with a similar X-ray pattern from another small black hole. As they continue to use that data and new data from the RXTE, they hope to learn more about smaller black holes and confirm that this X-ray heartbeat is really the sign of one.”
Kitguru says: The smallest black hole?