Black Hole Found So Gigantic It Should Be Impossible

Posted: Sep 25 2015, 4:00am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 26 2015, 7:30pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Black Hole Found so Gigantic it should be Impossible
An active galactic nucleus, with jets of material flowing from out from a central black hole. Image Credit: NASA, Dana Berry, SkyWorks Digital

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Researchers find that a recently discovered galaxy has a black hole so gigantic it should not physically be possible - raising many questions about current theories regarding galactic evolution.

Scientists have made a discovery that will have an impact on the current theories of galactic evolution.

The galaxy SAGE0536AGN was initially discovered with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light. The at least 9 billion years old galaxy contains an active galactic nucleus (AGN).

This bright object is the result from the accretion of gas by a central supermassive black hole. The gas is accelerated to high velocities due to the black hole's immense gravitational field, causing this gas to emit light.

The research team has first of all confirmed the presence of the black hole by measuring the speed of the gas moving around it.

The collected data has also been used to calculate the black hole's mass. The black hole in SAGE0536AGN has 350 million times the mass of the Sun.

The mass of the galaxy SAGE0536AGN, obtained through measurements of the movement of its stars is 25 billion solar masses according to calculations.

This is seventy times larger than that of the black hole, but the black hole is though still thirty times larger than expected for this size of galaxy.

"Galaxies have a vast mass, and so do the black holes in their cores. This one though is really too big for its boots -- it simply shouldn't be possible for it to be so large," said Dr Jacco van Loon, an astrophysicist at Keele University and the lead author on the new paper.

In ordinary galaxies the black hole would grow at the same rate as the galaxy, but in SAGE0536AGN the black hole has grown much faster, or the galaxy stopped growing prematurely.

Only time will tell whether SAGE0536AGN really is an oddball, or simply the first in a new class of galaxies.

The findings have been published in the paper titled "An evolutionary missing link? A modest-mass early-type galaxy hosting an oversized nuclear black hole" in the journal Royal Astronomical Society.

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