Friday, November 30, 2012

Gigantic black hole surprise

Astronomers have discovered a giant black hole that is surprisingly heavy in relation to the galaxy hole live in. Super Heavy black holes in galaxies are typically several million times heavier than our Sun. But now, astronomers have found a black hole that is 17 billion times more massive than the Sun! The giant black hole at the heart of a galaxy called NGC the 1277th.

The enormous black hole is possibly the heaviest astronomers have ever found - it is also certainly the second-heaviest. The astronomers namely previously found a black hole that is between 6 and 37 billion times more massive than the Sun. If this black hole turns out to be at the low end of this range, then it will be the black hole in NGC 1277 can be titled as the heaviest.

The most surprising thing about the black hole in NGC 1277 is not that it is so heavy, but that it is unusual significance in view of the galaxy, it lives in. Normally, supermassive black holes approximately 0.1% of the total mass of their galaxy, but for the black hole in NGC 1277, this figure is as much as 14%. The researchers are now investigating other galaxies to see if the huge black hole in NGC 1277 is the exception that proves the rule. If several similar examples will be found, astronomers could be forced to fundamentally rethink their theoretical models of how galaxies and their supermassive black holes are formed and evolve.

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