While observing the galaxy cluster Abell 1201, astronomers have discovered possibly the largest black hole known to date. It has a mass about 30 billion more than the sun. According to scientists, this is the upper limit of what size they can reach.
Space.com reports the sensational discovery. Astronomers when observing the galaxy Abell 1201 used gravitational lensing, which allows you to see the bending of light by gravity around extremely massive objects. This led to the discovery of a new black hole.
The largest black hole in history
- This particular black hole, which is about 30 billion times the mass of our sun, is one of the largest ever detected and is at the upper limit of how large we think black holes can theoretically get, so it is is an extremely exciting discovery, said James Nightingale, an astrophysicist at Durham University in the UK and lead author of the new study, said in a statement.
Astronomers call these types of huge objects ultramassive black holes, as opposed to the usual galactic supermassive black holes, which weigh several million to several billion solar masses.
As space.com points out, the team arrived at the size of the black hole by analyzing the magnification of the foreground object in a series of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Using advanced computer modeling, the researchers were able to simulate how much light bends around the foreground galaxy that hosts the black hole.
They tested thousands of black hole sizes before arriving at a solution that matched the observations.
The black hole, located in one of the galaxies in the Abell 1201 galaxy cluster, is the first one discovered using this technique.
Although it is huge, the black hole is not very active, which means it does not absorb much matter and therefore does not produce strong X-rays.
Such black holes are almost impossible to study by other methods.
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