Astronomers have discovered what they think is a black hole at 1,000 light-years away, the closest one to Earth ever found. Scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile inferred that that object is where they think it is based on the movements of stars nearby. The team was actually trying to understand the uncanny behavior of two stars that were close to each another in a system called HR 6819. These two stars were both in the same system with similar mass and size, but were behaving differently as both are moving through space at different velocities.
For a number of years, astronomers have been curious about this two-star system, with some thinking that a third object might be nearby and are causing these two stars to behave as is. Finally, astronomers have tracked that the stars’ movements looked like they were orbiting around an object that was maybe four times bigger than the Solar System’s own sun. During their initial observations, it didn’t seem like there was anything in the middle, which meant that the two stars were revolving around another star that was very difficult to detect- or a black hole.
The system where the two stars and the black hole are is near Earth because these stars can be seen with the naked eye. Fortunately, 1,000 light-years is a huge distance so the black hole is not a threat to our planet or the Solar System. With this discovery of a black hole so near us, it could also mean that there might be more black holes scattered in the Universe.