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Which is the nearest known or suspected black hole from the Solar System and how far is it from us? Is there an easily-viewed catalog that astronomers use to keep track of these?

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    $\begingroup$ We don't know how close the nearest black hole is. It is almost certainly invisible. See astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/4725/… $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Sep 9, 2017 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ Looks like the nearest known one is still about 30,000 LY away, near galactic center: universetoday.com/137062/… $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2017 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Statistically, what would the average distance of the closest black hole be? $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Sep 9, 2017 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ Wikipedia lists are not the final word on a given subject. I think a far better way to handle this question would be to cite a proper "astronomer-quality" list of black holes. Surely astronomers do not refer to Wikipedia articles as sources of reliable information. I also think that the question should be left OPEN and answered because it is of particular interest to future readers. My goodness I had no idea there were so many black holes so close by! Why would you insta-close and burry the question instead of up voting and answering it? SE is about good answers, not question target practice $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 10, 2017 at 7:18
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    $\begingroup$ @JamesK no, asking "what is the closest" and asking "statistically, what would be the closest" are different questions. If you asked for the closest WC in a pinch, and someone only told you statistically speaking what the distance to the closest one would be, would you feel comfortable that your question had been adequately addressed? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 10, 2017 at 7:30

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According to table 2 of Corral Santana (2015) (The BlackCAT catalogue of stellar mass black holes in X-ray transients - which other than gravitational waves, is how they are found), the nearest known black hole (as of 05 Dec 2022) is the primary of the V616 Mon system (otherwise known as A0620-003) at a distance of $1.06 \pm 0.10$ kpc ($3460 \pm 390$ ly).

Galactic black holes can only be found at present when they are in close binary systems with other stars (or black holes). This is the tiny minority of an estimated Galactic population of 100 million black holes. Gravitational wave detections of merging black hole binaries can be also be made, but these are rare and none have been observed from within our Galaxy.

The nearest black hole is likely invisible to us at present. A statistical estimate can be made (see my answer here) that the nearest will be within 20 pc or so, depending on the parent population and detailed physics of supernovae. Searches are currently underway for massive unseen companions to "normal" stars that might betray their presence by causing distinct wobbles in the observed motion of the normal star.

The online BlackCAT catalogue.

Edit: Stop press. El Badry et al. (2023) report the discovery of a $>5M_\odot$ unseen companion to a solar-type star, at a distance of $477\pm 4$ pc. This is likely to be a black hole and was discovered by observing the reflex motion of the companion star with Gaia.

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  • $\begingroup$ Love the name! :-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 10, 2017 at 13:24

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