Nearest black hole(or neutron star)

According to NASA, astronomers, using Chandra X-ray observatory had almost found a youngest possible Black hole known to exist in our cosmic background, and they even said that it appears to be our nearest possible. The 30-year-old object provides a unique opportunity for them to watch a black hole develop from infancy.

The black hole appears to be the remnant of SN 1979C, a supernova in the galaxy M100 approximately 50 million light years away from the earth. NASA's Swift satellite, the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton and the German ROSAT observatory revealed a steady flow of bright X rays from a source during their observation from 1995 to 2007. and suggests that this could be the black hole being fed through the material that is falling in to it from the supernova or possibly from a binary companion.

"If our interpretation is correct, this is the nearest example where the birth of a black hole has been observed," said Daniel Patnaude of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. who led the study.

Scientists think that the SN 1979C--first discovered by an amateur astronomer in 1979--was formed when a star about 20 times more massive than the sun collapsed--gravitational collapse.

SN1979C, obviously is different from other black holes that had been found so far, as it doesn't produce any Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). GRBs are something, scientists relied on so far to found the black holes, but SN 1979C belongs to a class of supernovas unlikely to produce Gamma-Ray Bursts.

"This may be the first time the common way of making a black hole has been observed," said co-author Abraham Loeb, also of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "However, it is very difficult to detect this type of black hole birth because decades of X-ray observations are needed to make the case."

The idea of a black hole with an observed age of only about 30 years is consistent with recent theoretical work. In 2005, a theory was presented that the bright optical light of this supernova was powered by a jet from a black hole that was unable to penetrate the hydrogen envelope of the star to form a GRB. X-ray data from Chandra and the other observatories fit this theory very well.

However they are not yet ready to confirm this--as a black hole--as there exists some intriguing possibility: A young, rapidly spinning neutron star with a powerful wind of high energy particles could be responsible for the X-ray emission.

Whatever the case could be, they can be still happy as this is our youngest neutron star so far and a brightest example of a "pulsar wind nebula". The Crab pulsar, the best-known example of a bright pulsar wind nebula, is about 950 years old.


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