A team of Russian astronomers has dedicated a newly discovered black hole to the late physicist Stephen Hawking who passed away recently.
The scientists from the Moscow State University spotted the gamma-ray burst in the Ophiuchus constellation two days after Hawking’s demise. The gamma-ray burst, which indicates the death and eventual collapse of a star, led to the formation of a new black hole in its place. The Ophiuchus constellation is located in the northwest of the center of the Milky Way, near to the constellations Aquila, Serpens and Hercules, and opposite Orion.
It is when a star reaches the end of its life and that it collapses into itself leading to the formation of a black hole. The black hole is believed to have infinite density, infinite gravity, and enormous mass. While scientists haven’t been able to observe the black holes directly, scientists like Stephen Hawking have spent their entire lives studying black holes and their role in the universe’s evolution.
Although Gamma-ray bursts are quite common and can be observed on almost a daily basis, they just last for a short span of time anywhere between milliseconds to tens of seconds. In fact, it is nearly impossible to refocus a telescope to capture the release of energy. Fortunately, this time the astronomers were lucky enough to spot the burst with the help of MASTER-IAC robotic telescope installed in Tenerife, Spain.
“MASTER devoted this optical discovery to Stephen Hawking, the Lord of Black Holes,” Russian researchers wrote in the Astronomer’s Telegram journal.
The newest black hole has been registered under the name GRB180316A on Mar 16, 2018. The 76-year-old physicist, Stephen Hawking, breathed his last on March 14, following complications due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He will be laid to rest near Sir Isaac Newton’s grave on Saturday, March 31.