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Scientists spot the birth of a black hole in the wake of a dead star

According to a leading theory on the origins of black holes, they emerge from dying, exploding stars. Now, researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope claim they might have observed that birth, New Scientist reports. In a study published in Solar and Stellar Astrophysics, the researchers say they saw the red supergiant star N6946-BH1 flare a million times brighter than our sun for several months in 2009 before fading out of visible wavelengths, a likely sign of a brand-new black hole. If this is indeed such an event, it could provide valuable data about black hole life cycles. The researchers will try to confirm this theory over the next few months by searching for the x-ray traces of matter falling into the new hole.