Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Black Hole How Big?!

Astronomers have discovered the largest black hole on record.  Located in the center of the NGC 1277 galaxy about 220 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Perseus, lays a monster 17 billion times the mass of our sun with an event horizon ten times the size of our solar system!  By comparison, the Milky Way's center singularity is about four million solar masses.

Most super massive black holes at the center of galaxies make up roughly .1 percent of their host galaxy mass.  But NGC 1277 accounts for a staggering 14% of it host's mass!  Now that one ultra massive black hole has been uncovered, it would seem they are not as uncommon as previously thought.  The astronomy team at the Planck Institute for Astronomy have found five more galaxies with similar characteristics.  Plus they may have discovered (confirmation is still pending) a black hole that could be as large as 30 billion solar masses eight months ago.

One thing is really clear with the discovery however.  The discovery of these ultra-massive black holes will have to lead to a rethink of the dynamics behind the formation of galaxies.

Thanks to Dan for the heads up.

complete Register article

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