Gigantic Black Holes Just Got Even Bigger
A number of the largest black holes in the universe may be even bigger than previously thought, researchers say. “Ultramassive black holes — that is, black holes with masses exceeding 10 billion solar masses — are probably not rare; several and even dozens of these colossal black holes may exist,” said Stanford astrophysicist Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo.
At the heart of virtually every large galaxy is a supermassive black hole weighing millions to billions of times the mass of the sun. Astronomers can detect the existence and approximate size of these black holes based on how they disturb the space and matter around them. Now, using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, researchers analyzing the brightest galaxies in a sample of 18 galaxy clusters find that at least 10 of the black holes in these galaxies are actually a whopping 10 billion to 40 billion times the mass of the sun.