Black holes are a region of space-time exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it. In the space, black holes are one of the most complex entities. Recently, a study by Japanese astrophysicists that there could be up to 100 million black holes hiding throughout the Milky Way. And now, astronomers have found another black hole that is clocking in at 40 billion times the mass of the Sun. Yes, you read it right.
According to a new research that marks the first direct measurement, says it’s at the centre of a galaxy called Holmberg 15A, a supergiant elliptical galaxy around 700 million light-years away, which in turn sits at the centre of the Abell 85 galaxy cluster. It is to be noted that the object is one of the biggest black holes ever found, and the biggest found by tracking the movement of the stars around it.
It is worth mentioning here that the paper has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal, and awaits peer review. "We use orbit-based, axisymmetric Schwarzschild models to analyse the stellar kinematics of Holm 15A from new high-resolution, wide-field spectral observations obtained with MUSE at the VLT. We find a supermassive black hole (SMBH) with a mass of (4.0 ± 0.80) × 1010 solar masses at the center of Holm 15A," the researchers wrote in their paper.
"This is the most massive black hole with a direct dynamical detection in the local Universe," the researchers noted.
According to the study, at 40 billion solar masses, the event horizon Holm 15A* would be huge, engulfing the orbits of all the planets in the Solar System, and then some. At the mass of Holm 15A* as determined by the new study, its Schwarzschild radius would be around 790 AU.
"The SMBH of Holm 15A is not only the most massive one to date, it is also four to nine times larger than expected given the galaxy's bulge stellar mass and the galaxy's stellar velocity dispersion," the researchers wrote.
"We find that black hole masses in cored galaxies, including Holm 15A, scale inversely with the central stellar surface brightness and mass density, respectively," the researchers further added.
The research has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal and is available on arXiv.
The Holm 15A* is not the biggest black hole ever spotted. Well, the biggest black hole is TON 618, which apparently has a black hole clocking in at 66 billion times the mass of the Sun, based on indirect measurements.