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05/10/2005 01:32 AM ID: 48013 Permalink   

Astronomers Report Birth of a Black Hole


Astronomers on Monday have photographed what they they believe is the birth of a black hole that occurred some 2.2 billion years ago. Two dense neutron stars merged and emitted a faint visible-light flash to create a relatively low-mass black hole.

This is the first time scientists have been able to record an optical afterglow after these very short-duration gamma-ray bursts. It is believed that a burst like this one represents the formation of a black hole a few times the mass of the sun.

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