(ORDO NEWS) — At the center of the Abell 1201 cluster is a huge elliptical galaxy, and at its center is a supermassive black hole. Previous research showed that the object was larger than most known black holes.
The last of them is one of the largest objects in the Universe, it is larger than some galaxies. Its mass is estimated to be about 32 billion times that of the Sun.
For example, one of the largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, the Small Magellanic Cloud, has a mass of 6.5 billion solar masses. Discovered black hole, which is five times as massive.
“This particular black hole, which is about 30 billion times the mass of our Sun, is one of the largest ever discovered and is on the upper limit of how big we think black holes can theoretically get, so this is an extremely exciting discovery,” said astrophysicist James Nightingale of the University of Durham, lead author of the study.
Observing black holes is not easy. They are not called “black” for nothing, since nothing escapes them, not even light, so researchers must observe what is happening around them.
One can see gravitational waves from the merger of small black holes, or radio waves from the immediate area around them, as was the case with one in the Milky Way.
They can be seen if black holes are actively “feeding,” as their incredible gravitational pull can heat up material enough to glow in X-rays.
Here a different method is used. The researchers modeled the effect produced by gravitational lenses, that is, how a massive object, such as a galaxy or a cluster of galaxies, can warp space-time around it.
This distortion can magnify background objects and is very useful for studying distant objects.
In addition, black holes are excellent gravitational lenses, and in this work, scientists have modeled supermassive black holes of various sizes in massive galaxies.
The team figured out how they would distort light, and they found that their huge supermassive black hole model matched the Hubble Space Telescope’s observations of Abell 1201, which is located 2.7 billion light-years from Earth.
“Most of the largest black holes we know of are active, when matter pulled close to the black hole heats up and releases energy in the form of light, X-rays and other radiation,” Nightingale added.
“However, gravitational lensing makes it possible to study inactive black holes, which is currently not possible in distant galaxies.
This approach could allow us to detect many more black holes outside of our local universe and show how these exotic objects evolved in the distant past into cosmic time.”
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