Nearby Black Hole Poses A Threat To Close By Planets

A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting powerful gravitational acceleration consuming everything around, including the light. Due to its mass effect, it is considered one of the most potent and dangerous objects in the universe. Scientists have observed and studied its destructive power, and one of them has dedicated a study based on what if there were a black hole just beyond our solar system.

Things would be very different, in a negative way, if there were to be a black hole located just one parsec from our planet. Earth might not be such a great place to live, says Lorenzo Iorio, a researcher with the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research.

“The planet, starting from the current heliocentric distance of the Earth, may even impact its star in about 2 to 3 million years,” says Iorio.

Let’s look at the ‘what if’ situation from a different perspective: If an Earth-like planet and a Sun-like ours were within a few light-years of a supermassive black. Take the black hole like the one at the center of the Milky Way, for example. The planet would cease to exist long before intelligent life has a chance to evolve.

Nearby Black Hole Poses A Threat To Close By Planets

The very existence of a planet orbiting a black hole will be similarly bleak, according to other researchers’ investigations on this subject.

Iorio has taken the supermassive black hole M87 as a model for his calculations. M87 is the only black hole humans have ever seen in real life, thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope’s debut images released last year and lies about 53 million light-years from Earth. The black hole is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun.

The nearest known black hole is Sag A just under 26,000 light-years away, located in the center of the Milky Way, which is pretty far from our planet compared to 3.26 light-years apart used in Iorio’s calculation. Could you even imagine a black hole closer to us than Alpha Centauri?

Iorio’s model is too simplistic to be applied to systems. His model takes into consideration only the basic: the presence of a black hole, star, and planet. However, it excludes the many other objects that play a role in the actual dynamics of the universe. His work might be relevant to other triple systems and perhaps even the hunt for a so-called Planet Nine in our solar system.

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