Berkeley student throws cold water on ‘monster’ black hole discovery
Sometimes, a blockbuster discovery is just too good to be true. UC Berkeley graduate student astronomer Kareem El-Badry knows that all too well — he just shot one down.
El-Badry studies unusual binary star systems in which one of the two stars orbiting each other explodes as a supernova and turns into a black hole. But he was surprised when, on Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, Chinese astronomers reported such a system with a black hole that was astoundingly large: 70 times the mass of our sun.