An X-ray-quiet black hole born with a negligible kick in a massive binary within the Large Magellanic Cloud

Shenar, Tomer; Sana, Hugues; Mahy, Laurent; El-Badry, Kareem; Marchant, Pablo; Langer, Norbert; Hawcroft, Calum; Fabry, Matthias; Sen, Koushik; Almeida, Leonardo A.; Abdul-Masih, Michael; Bodensteiner, Julia; Crowther, Paul A.; Gieles, Mark; Gromadzki, Mariusz; Hénault-Brunet, Vincent; Herrero, Artemio; Koter, Alex de; Iwanek, Patryk; Kozłowski, Szymon; Lennon, Daniel J.; Apellániz, Jesús Maíz; Mróz, Przemysław; Moffat, Anthony F. J.; Picco, Annachiara; Pietrukowicz, Paweł; Poleski, Radosław; Rybicki, Krzysztof; Schneider, Fabian R. N.; Skowron, Dorota M.; Skowron, Jan; Soszyński, Igor; Szymański, Michał K.; Toonen, Silvia; Udalski, Andrzej; Ulaczyk, Krzysztof; Vink, Jorick S.; Wrona, Marcin
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Nature Astronomy

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Stellar-mass black holes are the final remnants of stars born with more than 15 solar masses. Billions are expected to reside in the Local Group, yet only a few are known, mostly detected through X-rays emitted as they accrete material from a companion star. Here, we report on VFTS 243: a massive X-ray-faint binary in the Large Magellanic Cloud. With an orbital period of 10.4 d, it comprises an O-type star of 25 solar masses and an unseen companion of at least nine solar masses. Our spectral analysis excludes a non-degenerate companion at a 5σ confidence level. The minimum companion mass implies that it is a black hole. No other X-ray-quiet black hole is unambiguously known outside our Galaxy. The (near-)circular orbit and kinematics of VFTS 243 imply that the collapse of the progenitor into a black hole was associated with little or no ejected material or black-hole kick. Identifying such unique binaries substantially impacts the predicted rates of gravitational-wave detections and properties of core-collapse supernovae across the cosmos.
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