Thursday, January 3, 2013

Black holes weighing 40 billion suns discovered

How big is the universe  - one would never know. But recently scientists have discovered black holes weighing 40 billion suns - and mind you these are just one set of God knows how many black holes 'out there.'

This NASA image shows a new image of a ring - not of jewels - but of black holes. This composite image of Arp 147, a pair of interacting galaxies located about 430 million light years from Earth, shows X-rays from the NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (pink) and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue) produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute, or STSc (AFP Photo / NASA)

However, the present discovery is the largest ever black holes discovered so far. These giants, all located in far-off galaxies about 1.3 billion light years from Earth, are more common than scientists originally thought.

Scientists refer to them as ‘ultramassive’ black holes, not to confuse them with ‘supermassive’ holes, with only a few confirmed examples.

A survey, conducted by author Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo of Stanford University and her team, showed that at least ten out of 18 galaxies they studied had black holes that may weigh up to 40 billion times the mass of the sun.


"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 Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo, the study's lead author.

To estimate the size of these ultramassive holes, Hlavacek-Larrondo and her colleagues analyzed the X-rays and radio waves generated by black holes when they destroy the gas, dust, and stars near them. The black holes they found turned out to be roughly 10 times larger than expected, given the size of their respective host galaxies.

Read more about the discovery of these black holes at RT


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