Did We Just Witness the Birth of a Black Hole? - Atlas Obscura
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Did We Just Witness the Birth of a Black Hole?

A star has disappeared.

A proud parent? (Photo: European Southern Observatory/CC BY 2.0)

Mazel tov! Scientist may have just witnessed the birth of a black hole for the first time. According to Science Alert, astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to spy on the creation of a new stellar sinkhole.

The suspected birth took place while the telescope was focused on a red supergiant star affectionately named, N6946-BH1. The star, which is around 25 times larger than our local sun, has been observed since 2004, but as astronomers reviewed the data, they noticed a flare up had occurred in 2009, and ever since the star had faded away. Recent looks at N6946-BH1 indicate that it is no longer emitting visible light.

This disappearance has led scientists to hypothesize that the star has collapsed, folding itself into a black hole. According to their findings, they think that the 2009 flare was the star shedding its neutrinos, which in turn caused it to lose some of its gravity, eventually becoming a black hole.

At the moment, their observations are little more than speculation. More tests will need to be conducted to eliminate other explanations for the star’s disappearance, such as merging with another star, or something simply blocking the telescope’s view. However, should their theory prove correct, it will mark the first time in history that we have actually witnessed the birth of one of the universe’s most mysterious anomalies. How adorable.