A dozen or so microquasars have been found in the Milky Way Galaxy. One of them, known as GRS 1915+105, lies 40,000 light-years away in Aquila and was discovered in 1994 by the GRANAT X-ray satellite. It consists of an ordinary star with about the same mass as the Sun orbiting around the heaviest stellar black hole found to date, with a mass of 14 solar masses. In its year of discovery, it was observed to shoot out material with one-third the mass of the Moon in opposite directions at 92% of the speed of light. Another microquasar, LS 5039, is much closer, at a distance of only 9,100 light-years, has twin radio-bright jets, each about 2.6 billion km long, but is surprisingly dim in X-rays, suggesting that future searches might reveal many more such X-ray-dim objects. If so, it may be that microquasars are a substantial, if not dominant, source of high-energy particles and radiation in the Galaxy.
The closest known microquasar and black hole to Earth is V4641 Sagittarii, which lies only about 1,500 light-years away.
Related categories• TYPES OF STAR
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