Thanks to a spectrograph (an instrument that can measure the radial velocity of an object) "FEROS", located at the La Silla observatory (Chile), astronomers discovered that one of the two stars moving faster than the other, and flew in an unusual manner, all the forty days, around an invisible object.
"Such systems are not known nearby", Baade says.
ESO scientists made their discovery as they were observing the system.
Astronomers have been studying the star system HR 6819 since the 1980s, but it is still throwing up some new surprises. However, upon closer inspection, the scientists found traces of a stellar-mass black hole, which was formed following the collapse of a dying star. According to scientists, the invisible object weighing several times the mass of the Sun can not be anything other than a black hole.
The excitement around this object is twofold: First, 1,000 light-years away is really close, cosmically speaking.
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HR 6819 is a fairly non-descript star in the night sky, tucked away in the corner of the southern constellation of Telescopium. Of course, scientists only know about the black holes that were already discovered.
But, in the terms of cosmos and galaxy, the black hole is definitely in our neighborhood, according to the study leader.
He said only a handful of similar black holes had been found previously, and they merited further scrutiny. "They have good evidence", says Todd Thompson, an astronomer at Ohio State University. It's this high-energy signal that telescopes detect, not the black hole itself. The new black hole is part of what used to be a three-star dance in a system called HR6819. Stumbling upon a quiet black hole this close suggests that there could be many more systems like this one.
The two stars are sufficiently distant from the black hole that it is not pulling material from them.
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Astronomers have been able to find only two dozen black holes in the Milky Way galaxy so far, and nearly all of those exhibit strong interactions with their environment and reveal their presence by emitting strong X-rays during this interaction.
The black hole which is centrally located in the Milky Way is more than 25,000 light-years away.
The discovery of a of the tiny black hole in HR 6819 provides clues about where the many hidden black holes in the Milky Way might be.
Black holes are the by-products of ageing stars that exploded in spectacular fashion at the end of their lifetime.
And astronomers believe the revelation could shine some light on a second system called LB-1 which may also be a triple.
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"This star is not so massive that it loses a lot of gas and therefore the black hole is starving and that makes it so dark", Baade said."The ordinary explanation is they might just involve two stars. one of them, having a disk around them (the Be star) rather than three stars, one of which is a black hole", where the Be star refers to the third star orbiting the other two.