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ABC: Closest black hole to Earth discovered 1,000 light-years away

Aries

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The black hole -- which NASA defines as a great amount of matter packed into a very small area with a gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape -- was discovered in a star system called HR 6819 and is about four times the mass of the sun, according to the findings published on Wednesday in the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

"We were totally surprised when we realized that this is the first stellar system with a black hole that can be seen with the unaided eye," Petr Hadrava, co-author of the study and emeritus scientist at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague, said in a statement.

Scientists stumbled upon the out-of-this-world discovery in the Telescopium constellation while tracking two stars orbiting each other just outside the gravitational pull of the black hole, with the help of a super telescope at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile.
 

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