Ultramassive black hole about 33 billion times the mass of the sun discovered by British astronomers | Scientific and technical news
An ultramassive black hole around 33 billion times the mass of the sun has been discovered by British astronomers.
Scientists from Durham University say the gargantuan black hole is one of the largest ever discovered.
The team described their findings, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, as “extremely exciting”.
Lead author Dr James Nightingale, from Durham University’s Department of Physics, said: “This particular black hole, which is about 30 billion times the mass of our sun, is one of the largest never detected and at the upper limit of the size we believe black holes can theoretically become, so this is an extremely exciting discovery.”
Ultramassive black holes are the most massive objects in the universe, between 10 and 40 billion times the mass of the sun.
Astronomers believe they lie at the center of all major galaxies such as the Milky Way, which includes our own solar system.
Ultramassive black holes are rare and elusive, and their origins are unclear.
Some believe they were formed from the extreme merger of massive galaxies billions of years ago, when the universe was still young.
The researchers used a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, where they took help from a nearby galaxy by converting it into a giant magnifying glass.
This revealed the presence of the ultramassive black hole, a region where the pull of gravity is so strong that not even light can escape.
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Scientists used supercomputer simulations at Durham University and images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope to confirm the size of the supermassive black hole.
They said it was the first black hole discovered using gravitational lensing.
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Dr Nightingale said: “Most of the largest black holes we know of are in an active state, where matter drawn near the black hole heats up and releases energy in the form of light, X-rays and radiation. other write-offs.
“However, the gravitational lens allows the study of inactive black holes, which is currently not possible in distant galaxies.
“This approach could allow us to detect many more black holes beyond our local universe and reveal how these exotic objects evolved farther back in cosmic time.”
The researchers said their work opens up the “tantalizing possibility” that astronomers could discover more ultramassive black holes than previously thought.
The research was supported by the UK Space Agency, the Royal Society, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, and the European Research Council.