Astronomers bring us news of the largest black hole to ever be observed by science. Thankfully, the massive black hole is in a galaxy far, far away. 700 million light-years away to be more exact. Which is another statistic to wrap your head around.
Observing Holm 15A
The galaxy that holds the black hole has been designated Holm 15A. It is part of a galaxy cluster designated Abell 85 in the Cetus constellation. The galaxy is the brightest one in the cluster that is visible from the North and Southern Hemispheres.
The Hubble Space Telescope allowed scientists to study celestial bodies that are so far away from Earth. The launch happened in 1990, ending the previous limitations that astronomers had. Giant ground-based telescopes that have been recently constructed have validated the oddity of the galaxy and its black hole.
Inner Core Mystery
Scientists that are studying extraterrestrial physics do not understand how Holm 15A can be so large and have a central diffuse region that is quite faint. So, the mystery was that a lot of the core is dark and the rest of the galaxy shines very bright.
The Very Large Telescope in Chile has aided with the mystery galaxy. Scientists constructed a map that details the structure of the galaxy by using data from the telescope. Using as much data that was possible, a number of simulations were conducted.
Scientists wanted to uncover the mystery of the dark inner core of Holm 15A. The simulations were meant to retrace the formation of the galaxy to find the answer. The researchers found out that Holm 15A formed due to a collision between two young galaxies, near the beginning of the universe.
Black Hole size and power
It is believed that the collision caused the formation of a supermassive black hole. This phenomena either had the power to absorb many of the galaxy’s inner stars or expel them to the edge of the formation. Causing a dead inner core that appears to have no light or life.
The massive black hole had the power to do this because of its size. To try to put it into perspective, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is 4 million times larger than the Sun. The black hole in the center of Holm 15A is a whopping 40 billion times larger than the Sun. And the Sun is 1.3 million times the size of Earth.
Bo has over six years experience as a teacher, advocate and speaker. He has a B.S. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Human rights from Harvard University Graduate School.