Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other institutes have found a black hole that is just 1000 light-years from Earth, which makes it closer to our Solar System than any other found to date and forms part of a triple system that can be seen with the naked eye. It was discovered by tracking its two companion stars using the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Read more for a video and additional information.
The astronomers originally observed the system, called HR 6819, as part of a study of double-star systems, but the data revealed a third, previously undiscovered body in HR 6819: a black hole.
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This system contains the nearest black hole to Earth that we know of. There must be hundreds of millions of black holes out there, but we know about only very few. Knowing what to look for should put us in a better position to find them,” said ESO scientist Thomas Rivinius, who led the study published today in Astronomy & Astrophysics.