The newly discovered black hole is so massive that it catapults itself directly into the 10 largest objects. The researchers are now hoping for more discoveries.
Durham – There is a supermassive black hole at the center of most galaxies. At the heart of the Milky Way, for example, is the black hole Sagittarius A*, which is rather small with its four million solar masses. Recently, a supermassive black hole ejected from its galaxy was discovered. A research team led by James Nightingale of Durham University in Great Britain has now discovered a particularly large example of a black hole.
“This particular black hole, with a mass of about 30 billion times the mass of our Sun, is one of the largest black holes ever discovered,” said Nightingale, who led the study. in the journal Monthly notices affiliate Royal Astronomical Society published had become. “It marks the upper limit of how massive black holes can theoretically be – a very exciting finding,” says Nightingale. Because the black hole is so large, it is no longer considered “supermassive” but rather “supermassive”.
Newly discovered: a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy
The giant black hole is located at the center of a galaxy in the Abell 1201 galaxy cluster, about 2.7 billion light-years from Earth. Its mass is 32.7 billion suns, which puts it in the top 10 known supermassive black holes. A massive object can only be detected by a trick, because black holes have a peculiarity: they swallow everything that comes close to them. Because they let nothing escape – not even light can escape – they are in effect “invisible”.
There are only two ways to find out:
- Matter interaction with a black hole: It emits energy in the form of light or radiation before falling into an active black hole. Instead, black holes hurl matter in so-called “jets” out into space – and this is also how a black hole can be detected.
- Changes due to the mass of the black hole: A black hole’s massive mass distorts space and can scatter and magnify light. Large objects in line of sight with the black hole can be magnified or even duplicated in this way – experts call this phenomenon gravitational lensing.
A massive dormant black hole has been discovered with a trick
“Most of the black holes we know of are in an active state, where matter gets pulled in near the black hole, gets heated up, and then emits energy in the form of light, X-rays, and other radiation,” Nightingale explains in one. communication. However, only the second method was called into question to detect the supermassive black hole, because the object is currently inactive. The research team discovered the black hole because it enlarges and distorts objects.
“With the help of gravitational lensing, inactive black holes can also be investigated,” confirms the lead author of the study, who is already hoping for more applications: “Using this approach, we can discover many more black holes outside our local universe and find out how these exotic objects move and evolved once.” other in cosmic time,” Nightingale said. (unpaid bill)
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