Scientists seem to have caught the most massive of black holes in the universe on camera.
The galaxy NGC 4889 may appear placid from our vantage point here on earth through the telescope. In fact, it is the nexus of a huge black hole that is larger than the largest discovered so far.
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The find was made by the Hubble Space Telescope. Pics of the galaxy, which lies in the Coma Cluster and is 300 million light years away, were taken by the giant telescope.
While this black hole is dormant, it has broken all previous records. Its humongous size simply knows no bounds. This specimen is 21 billion times the size of our sun.
As for its event horizon, it is 130 billion km when measured across its diameter. The event horizon is the super dense region at the mouth of the black hole.
Even light cannot escape this area due to the intense gravitational forces which are operational here. The event horizon is thus 15 times the orbital path of the planet Neptune in its elliptical route around the sun.
Hot accretion took place at one stage in this black hole. Space debris such as gaseous matter, cosmic dust and galactic flotsam and jetsam fell into the black hole. This created an accretion disk.
This rotating disc then proceeded to send out giant pulses of energy into the galaxy. It was in the duration of this period that this black hole was categorized as a quasar (quasi-stellar radio source).
The black hole emitted energy a thousand times more dense than our galaxy. However, currently the black hole is in a recession of sorts. That is because the disk does not allow any more sustenance to it.
The black hole seems to be silently waiting for its next meal. While the pictures that have come our way thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope do show the location of the black hole, they don’t show its features. That is due to the fact that it is virtually impossible to observe a black hole.
Light cannot escape it and thus cannot reach us here on earth. Only via a careful analysis of the behavior of celestial objects around its event horizon are we able to detect its presence and make hypotheses about it.