Space scientists in the UK have discovered a supermassive black hole 33 billion times the mass of Sun.
British media quoted the scientists from Durham University as saying that this is one of the biggest ever black hole found. The news about its discovery has been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and has been dubbed “extremely exciting”, according to the outlet. This comes days after an international team of experts found that a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy named PBC J2333.9-2343 has changed direction and is now aiming towards the Earth.
Astronomers believe that such massive black holes can be found at the centre of all large galaxies such as the Milky Way, which includes our own solar system.
I read this as having found a supermassive black hole in the UK, which would explain everything. https://t.co/4DYAGlwGAx
— Mark Follows (@ElectricLeisure) March 29, 2023
Talking about the latest discovery, lead author Dr James Nightingale, of the Department of Physics at Durham University, said: “This particular black hole, which is roughly 30 billion times the mass of our Sun, is one of the biggest ever detected and on the upper limit of how large we believe black holes can theoretically become, so it is an extremely exciting discovery.”
The black hole was discovered when scientists used gravitational lensing, where they took help from a nearby galaxy by converting it into a giant magnifying glass.
“Most of the biggest black holes that we know about are in an active state, where matter pulled in close to the black hole heats up and releases energy in the form of light, X-rays and other radiation. However, gravitational lensing makes it possible to study inactive black holes, something not currently possible in distant galaxies,” said Dr Nightingale.
Metro said such ultramassive black holes are rare and elusive and their origins are unclear. Some experts believe they were formed when the universe was young and galaxies were merging with each other.