Supermassive Black Holes Could Be Everywhere In The Universe, Says Study

Posted: Apr 6 2016, 9:57pm CDT | by , Updated: Apr 7 2016, 11:05pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Supermassive Black Holes Could be Everywhere in the Universe, Says Study
Credit: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole in an unexpected location. The discovery indicates that supermassive black holes could be more common than previously thought.

Astronomers have spotted a supermassive black hole in an uncluttered area of the universe and they are surprised to find a behemoth black hole in this unlikely place. 

The newly discovered black hole, which is one of the biggest black holes ever, is about 17 times more massive than our Sun and is lying inside galaxy NGC 1600 like a skyscraper lurking in a small town. 

Until now, the biggest supermassive black holes have been discovered in the cores of very large galaxies in the regions cluttered with other giant galaxies. But finding a supermassive black hole in a sparse area of universe inside a small galaxy is totally unexpected and indicates that black holes could be anywhere in the universe. So, researchers may need to rethink about where gigantic black holes can reside and how many of them might be in our universe.

“NGC 1600 is the first very massive black hole that lives outside a rich environment in the local universe, and could be the first example of a descendent of a very luminous quasar that also didn't live in a privileged site.” Co researcher Chung-Pei Ma from University of California, Barkley and head of MASSIVE Survey aiming to find most massive and black holes in the universe. 

The largest known supermassive black hole, almost equal to the mass of 21 billion suns, was discovered in a crowded part of space called Coma Cluster while the latest one is found in the opposite part of sky from Coma Cluster in a relatively lonely region. If a supermassive black hole can be found in a quiet backwater of space, it indicates that these monster objects could be more common than previously thought.

“Rich group of galaxies like the Coma Cluster are very, very rare, but there are quite a few galaxies the size of NGC 1600 that reside in average size galaxy group,” said Ma. “So the question now is, 'Is this the tip of an iceberg?' Maybe there are a lot more monster black holes out there that don't live in a skyscraper in Manhattan, but in a tall building somewhere in the Midwestern plains.”

NGC 1600 is an elliptical galaxy which is surrounded by a small group of 20 galaxies located 200 million light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. 

“Even though we already had hints that the galaxy might host an extreme object in the centre, we were surprised that the black hole in NGC 1600 is ten times more massive than predicted by the mass of the galaxy.” Lead researcher Jens Thomas from Max Planck Institute explained.

The new finding was based on the image data from Hubble Space Telescope, Gemini Telescope in Hawaii and the McDonald Observatory in Texas.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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