‘Ultramassive’ black hole that is 30 billion times the mass of the sun discovered
A black hole, or anything seen on this scale is a rarity - with this particular black hole one of the largest ever detected
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According to new research, an ‘ultramassive’ black hole that is a staggering 30 billion that mass of our sun has been found. The sheer size of the black hole is a scale that astronomers rarely see.
According to NASA, “A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.
“Because no light can get out, people can’t see black holes. They are invisible. Space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes. The special tools can see how stars that are very close to black holes act differently than other stars.”
It is located millions of lightyears away, so poses no immediate threat to our universe and is one of the biggest black holes ever detected. The international team took advantage of a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.
Gravitational lensing is what happens when galaxies warp the fabric of space creating a natural magnifying glass. This allows for light to boost from distant background objects
Lead author Dr James Nightingale, of Durham University, said: "This particular black hole is roughly 30 billion times the mass of our Sun. It 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."
He continued to say: "Most of the biggest black holes 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. This approach could let us detect many more black holes beyond our local universe and reveal how these exotic objects evolved further back in cosmic time."