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Discovery of a dormant 33 solar-mass black hole in pre-release Gaia astrometry
GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0016-8271
School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3569-3391
GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2837-3899
Department of Astronomy, University of Geneva, Chemin Pegasi 51, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland; Department of Astronomy, University of Geneva, Chemin da Ecogia 16, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6220-3266
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2024 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 686, article id L2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context. Gravitational waves from black-hole (BH) merging events have revealed a population of extra-galactic BHs residing in short-period binaries with masses that are higher than expected based on most stellar evolution models-And also higher than known stellar-origin black holes in our Galaxy. It has been proposed that those high-mass BHs are the remnants of massive metal-poor stars.

Aims. Gaia astrometry is expected to uncover many Galactic wide-binary systems containing dormant BHs, which may not have been detected before. The study of this population will provide new information on the BH-mass distribution in binaries and shed light on their formation mechanisms and progenitors.

Methods. As part of the validation efforts in preparation for the fourth Gaia data release (DR4), we analysed the preliminary astrometric binary solutions, obtained by the Gaia Non-Single Star pipeline, to verify their significance and to minimise false-detection rates in high-mass-function orbital solutions.

Results. The astrometric binary solution of one source, Gaia BH3, implies the presence of a 32.70a ±a 0.82aM- BH in a binary system with a period of 11.6 yr. Gaia radial velocities independently validate the astrometric orbit. Broad-band photometric and spectroscopic data show that the visible component is an old, very metal-poor giant of the Galactic halo, at a distance of 590 pc.

Conclusions. The BH in the Gaia BH3 system is more massive than any other Galactic stellar-origin BH known thus far. The low metallicity of the star companion supports the scenario that metal-poor massive stars are progenitors of the high-mass BHs detected by gravitational-wave telescopes. The Galactic orbit of the system and its metallicity indicate that it might belong to the Sequoia halo substructure. Alternatively, and more plausibly, it could belong to the ED-2 stream, which likely originated from a globular cluster that had been disrupted by the Milky Way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EDP Sciences, 2024. Vol. 686, article id L2
Keywords [en]
astrometry, binaries: spectroscopic, stars: black holes, stars: evolution, stars: massive, stars: Population II
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
Onboard Space Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-106125DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202449763Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85194947351OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-106125DiVA, id: diva2:1867025
Note

Funder: for funder information see Appendix F in https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/202449763;

Full text license: CC BY 4.0;

Available from: 2024-06-10 Created: 2024-06-10 Last updated: 2024-06-10

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