Monday, January 17, 2011

A Black Hole Big Enough to Fit the Solar System

That's right - as hard as it is to imagine the largest black hole ever discovered exsists in the heart of the core of galaxy M87. This monster is so freakishly huge that it could swallow up our solar system with AMPLE room left over. New measurements have it's size at a mind numbing 6.6 billion suns. The scientists who calculated this mass have stated that the black hole's event horizon—the edge from within nothing can escape, not even light—is four times as large as the orbit of Neptune, the outermost planet in our solar system.

Event Horizons, up to this point in history, have been elusive to observe. Obviously with something that doesn't allow light to escape is going to be very difficult indeed to observe directly. However, that may change within 10 years or so, when astronomers hope to succeed in hooking up telescopes from all over the world. Then they may actually detect the silhouette of the black hole's event horizon against the galaxy's background glow.

Science Now article

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