8 May 2020

Closest black hole to Earth discovered in Chile

The discovery of the closest black hole to Earth, at 1,000 light-years away, was announced on Wednesday, May 6. It was localized at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at La Silla in Chile.

The observations also showed that there are two stars that orbit the black hole, one of them every 40 days at a distance of almost 70 million kilometers (45% of the distance between the Sun and Earth), while the second star is much further away.

The journal “Astronomy and Astrophysics”, which announced the discovery, said that “La Silla observatory is in the southern section of the Atacama desert at an altitude of 2,400 meters. This discovery opens the door to finding similar new black holes.

The news has been replicated by several international media outlets, such as The New York Times, The Guardian and the BBC. It reaffirms Chile’s key role in astronomical research thanks to its exceptional skies and the significant level of observation capacity installed in Chile for obtaining big answers in the study of the Universe.


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