Astronomy:HR 6819

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HR 6819
Telescopium constellation map.svg
HR 6819
HR 6819
Location of HR 6819 (red circle) in the SW corner of the southern constellation of Telescopium
Observation data
Epoch J2000.0      Equinox J2000.0
Constellation Telescopium
Right ascension  18h 17m 07.53179s[1]
Declination −56° 01′ 24.0876″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 5.36[2] (5.32 to 5.39[3])
Evolutionary stage giant
Spectral type B3IIIpe[4] or B3II/III[5]
B−V color index −0.050±0.018[2]
Variable type Be[6][3]
Radial velocity (Rv)+9.4±0.5[7] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: -3.667[1] mas/yr
Dec.: +11.120[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π)2.9148 ± 0.1828[1] mas
Distance1,120 ± 70 ly
(340 ± 20 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV)−1.47[2]
PrimaryQV Tel Aa
CompanionQV Tel Ab
Period (P)40.333±0.004 d
Eccentricity (e)0.03±0.01
Argument of periastron (ω)
Semi-amplitude (K1)
61.3±0.6 km/s
QV Tel Aa
Mass6.3±0.7 M
Radius5.5±0.5 R
Surface gravity (log g)3.5-4.0 cgs
Temperature20,000±200 K
Rotational velocity (v sin i)50±1[8] km/s
QV Tel Ab (black hole)
Mass≥ 5.0 ± 0.4 M
QV Tel B
Temperature14,125-19,953 K
Age15-75 Myr
Other designations
QV Tel, CD−56°7256, FK5 1474, GC 24906, HD 167128, HIP 89605, HR 6819, SAO 245369[9]
Database references

HR 6819, also known as HD 167128 or QV Telescopii (abbreviated QV Tel), is a triple star system in the southern constellation of Telescopium. It is situated in the south-western corner of the constellation, near its boundary with Pavo and Ara. The system appears as a variable star that is dimly visible to the naked eye with an apparent magnitude that ranges from 5.32 down to 5.39, which is comparable to the maximum brightness of the planet Uranus. It is 1,120 light years from the Sun, and is drifting farther away at a rate of 9.4 km/s. A May 2020 study reported that the system contains a black hole, making the latter the closest known black hole, and the first one located in a star system visible to the naked eye. Because of its location in the sky, it is visible only to observers south of 33°N latitude.


HR 6819 is the Bright Star Catalogue designation for this star. It also has the Henry Draper Catalogue designation HD 167128 and the Hipparcos designation HIP 89605.[9] Since its brightness varies, it has been given the variable star designation QV Telescopii, indicating that it is the 330th confirmed variable star (excluding stars with Bayer designations) in the constellation Telescopium.[6]

History of discoveries

HR 6819 was regarded as a single star,[10] until 2009 when astronomer Monika Maintz concluded the spectrum contained the signatures of two stars. However, extensive analysis was prevented by a limited set of observations. This[clarification needed] took place after more thorough radial velocity measurements by Thomas Rivinius and his colleagues[when?], suggesting the presence of an unseen stellar-mass black hole within the system.[7] The triple star hypothesis was challenged in 2020 by Mohammadtaher Safarzadeh and his colleagues[11].


An artist's depiction of the orbits of the HR 6819 hierarchical triple star system, including the black hole Ab (red orbit) in the inner binary

HR 6819 is a hierarchical triple containing a classical Be star in a wide orbit of unknown period around an inner 40.3 day binary, a B3 III star and a non-emitting (non-accreting) black hole (≥ 5±0.4 M), designated Ab.[7] Although the HR 6819 system has been described as a member of the Sco OB2 association of co-moving stars,[12] a more recent analysis indicates it is an older system and not part of the association.[7]

The spectrum of HR 6819 contains both narrow and broadened lines. The broad lines originate from the rapidly-rotating Be star, while the narrow lines are from a more slowly-rotating B-class giant. The radial velocity variations of the lines indicate that the normal B giant is in a 40-day orbit, but not with the Be star. Therefore, there is a third, invisible, body in the system, the other component in the 40-day orbit. Analysis of the orbital parameters suggests that the third body is sufficiently massive that it can only be a black hole.[7]

QV Tel Aa

Now capable of being disambiguated as Aa (from A before),[7] the main, inner stellar component is a B3 III blue giant star. It has a mass of approximately 6 M. It and its unseen companion form an inner binary with a period of 40.33 days.[7]

The spectral type of component Aa is well-defined at about B3 from the distinct narrow lines in the composite spectrum. Comparison of different spectral lines indicates that the star is a giant star and that its temperature is 16 to 18 kK. The probable mass of such a star is 6.3 M, and certainly not less than 5 M.[7]

QV Tel Ab (black hole)

Radial velocity measurements of the seen inner component Aa analysed in 2020 indicate that it has a massive unseen companion Ab, which is very likely to be a black hole.[7] Being 1,120 light years distant from the Sun, this would make it the closest known black hole to the Sun.[2][13] As the host stellar system has an apparent magnitude of 5.36, similar to the maximum brightness of planet Uranus, the black hole is the first discovered in one of the 9,000 stellar systems visible to the naked eye.[2] The black hole is not detected in the spectrum and no x-rays have been observed, so any accretion disk around it would have to be a very weak one.[7]

The orbital motion of the visible blue giant shows that the minimum mass of the unseen component Ab is almost as large as that of component Aa. Given the strict minimum mass 5 M of component Aa, this means a minimum mass of 4.2 M. If the inclination of the orbit is not edge-on to us, then the mass is higher. Any single star with a mass that high would be easily detected in the spectrum, and objects which might be undetectable, such as neutron stars, cannot be that massive. Therefore, the object Ab is inferred to be a black hole.[7]

QV Tel B

The second, outer stellar component designated as B is a type Be star with a stellar classification of B3IIIpe.[4] The 'e' suffix indicates emission lines in its spectrum. It is a rapidly rotating blue-white star with a hot disk of decreted gas surrounding it.[14] The General Catalogue of Variable stars have given to the star system an entry and resultant designation (i.e. as a variable) due to this star, noting variability akin to but not properly of the Gamma Cassiopeiae type.[6] It is an estimated 50 million years in age,[15] with a projected rotational velocity of 50 km/s.[8]

The emission lines in the spectrum are strong, but absorption lines from the Be star are weak and so the exact spectral type is difficult to determine. Overall the spectral class is similar to the inner blue giant, but the relative weakness of some luminosity-dependent lines suggest that it is a main sequence star. It appears to be slightly hotter and slightly less luminous than the inner giant star, but the exact properties are difficult to determine due to its rapid rotation, the weak absorption lines, and the presence of strong emission lines from the disk.[7]

See also

  • LB-1, a binary system with a B star and a non-accreting black hole or neutron star.[7][16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Brown, A. G. A. (August 2018). "Gaia Data Release 2: Summary of the contents and survey properties". Astronomy & Astrophysics 616: A1. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201833051. Bibcode2018A&A...616A...1G.  Gaia DR2 record for this source at VizieR.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Anderson, E.; Francis, Ch. (2012). "XHIP: An extended Hipparcos compilation". Astronomy Letters 38 (5): 331. doi:10.1134/S1063773712050015. Bibcode2012AstL...38..331A. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "QV Telescopii". Retrieved 2020-05-06. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hiltner, W.A.; Garrison, R.F.; Schild, R.E. (July 1969). "MK spectral types for bright southern OB stars". The Astrophysical Journal 157: 313. doi:10.1086/150069. Bibcode1969ApJ...157..313H. 
  5. Houk, Nancy (1979). Michigan catalogue of two-dimensional spectral types for the HD stars. 1. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Samus, N.N.; Kazarovets, E.V.; Durlevich, O.V.; Kireeva, N. N.; Pastukhova, E.N. (2017). "General Catalogue of Variable Stars". Astronomy Reports. 5.1 61 (1): 80–88. doi:10.1134/S1063772917010085. Bibcode2017ARep...61...80S. 
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 Rivinius, Th.; Baade, D.; Hadrava, P.; Heida, M.; Klement, R. (2020). "A naked-eye triple system with a nonaccreting black hole in the inner binary". Astronomy & Astrophysics 637 (L3): 11. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202038020. Bibcode2020A&A...637L...3R. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Arcos, C.; Kanaan, S.; Chávez, J.; Vanzi, L.; Araya, I.; Curé, M. (March 2018). "Stellar parameters and H-α line profile variability of Be stars in the BeSOS survey". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 474 (4): 5287–5299. doi:10.1093/mnras/stx3075. Bibcode2018MNRAS.474.5287A. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "HD 167128". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. 
  10. Eggleton, P.P.; Tokovinin, A.A. (September 2008). "A catalogue of multiplicity among bright stellar systems". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 389 (2): 869–879. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13596.x. Bibcode2008MNRAS.389..869E. 
  11. Safarzadeh, Mohammadtaher; Toonen, Silvia; Loeb, Abraham (2020-07-06). "The nearest discovered black hole is likely not in a triple configuration". arXiv:2006.11872 [astro-ph]. 
  12. Brown, A.G.A.; Verschueren, W. (1997). "High S/N Echelle spectroscopy in young stellar groups. II. Rotational velocities of early-type stars in SCO OB2". Astronomy and Astrophysics 319: 811. Bibcode1997A&A...319..811B. 
  13. "Uranus Fact Sheet". 
  14. Jaschek, M.; Egret, D. (April 1982). "Catalog of Be stars". IAU Symposium 98: 261. Bibcode1982IAUS...98..261J. 
  15. Tetzlaff, N.; Neuhäuser, R.; Hohle, M.M. (January 2011). "A catalogue of young runaway Hipparcos stars within 3 kpc from the Sun". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 410 (1): 190–200. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17434.x. Bibcode2011MNRAS.410..190T. 
  16. Irrgang, A.; Geier, S.; Kreuzer, S.; Pelisoli, I.; Heber, U. (January 2020). "A stripped helium star in the potential black hole binary LB-1". Astronomy and Astrophysics 633: L5. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201937343. Bibcode2020A&A...633L...5I. 

External links

  • (Friday, 2020 May 22nd)
Preceded by
V616 Mon
Least distant black hole
Succeeded by