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A noninteracting low-mass black hole–giant star binary system

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Science  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6465, pp. 637-640
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau4005

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A black hole hiding in a binary star

As material falls toward a black hole, it heats up and emits x-rays. Almost all black holes are discovered by this x-ray emission. Thompson et al. observed light from a giant star that is Doppler shifted, indicating an orbit around a binary companion. The companion object must weigh more than 2.6 solar masses, but it emits no light, including x-rays. This indicates the presence of a black hole that is not currently consuming any material. There may be a population of similarly hidden black holes that have been missed by x-ray observations.

Science, this issue p. 637

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