Scientists have found a black hole that’s so large it theoretically isn’t supposed to exist, according to findings published in Nature Wednesday.
The black hole, dubbed LB-1, is a stellar black hole, meaning that it was formed after a star dies, collapses and then explodes. Until now, scientists believed that stellar black holes could be no larger than 20 times the mass of the sun. However, LB-1 has a mass 70 times greater than the mass of the sun.
LB-1 was found and named by a group of Chinese scientists at the National Astronomical Observatory of China and is located 15,000 light years away.
“Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our Galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution,” Liu Jifeng, leader of the team that discovered LB-1, said.
“We thought that very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our Galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds, as they approach the end of their life,” he continued. “Therefore, they should not leave behind such a massive remnant. LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible.
Stellar black holes are a relatively new revelation as only roughly two dozen galactic stellar black holes have been identified and thoroughly measured, according to a press release by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.