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Newborn Black Hole Discovered by Russian Scientists Dedicated to Stephen Hawking

News   •   Apr 03, 2018 06:07 EDT

Astronomers from Russian have discovered a neonate black hole in the Ophiuchus constellation, and have dedicated the discovery to renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who devoted his entire life studying our vast universe. Ophiuchus constellation can be found toward the northwest of the center of the Milky Way. It is situated near the constellations Serpens, Aquila, and Hercules, and right opposite Orion. While Ophiuchus remains a relatively large constellation, it is still one of the least-examined group of stars in the observable cosmos.

The newborn black hole was spotted two days after Hawking's sad demise after Moscow State University scientists observed a "gamma-ray burst” in the constellation. The burst was caused by the disintegration of a star that, in turn, led to the formation of a black hole in its place.

While gamma-ray bursts are quite a regular occurrence, it is a difficult task to refocus a telescope to capture the release of energy, which may last anywhere from milliseconds to tens of seconds. This time, the Russian scientists got lucky.

The extremely energetic explosion was captured by a MASTER-IAC robotic telescope installed in Tenerife, Spain, which managed to focus on a star fast enough to capture an increase in its brightness and obtain information about its source.

The discovery was registered under the name GRB180316A.

Best known for his work on black holes, the cosmologist theorized that contrary to the prevailing scientific belief that black holes were inescapable for all forms of matter and energy, they actually emitted a form of radiation – now known as Hawking radiation.

The world-renowned British scientist died on March 14, at the age of 76, after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating neurological condition, for over half a century.