Astronomers have discovered that there are millions of undiscovered black holes in the Milky Way. We know that the gravitational acceleration of a black hole is so great that even light cannot escape it. Now scientists have discovered a supermassive black hole with a mass 40 billion times that of the sun.
This black hole, named Holm 15A, is a super giant elliptical galaxy about 700 million light-years away from Earth and located at the center of the Abell 85 galaxy cluster. Holm 15A is one of the largest black holes ever discovered by tracking the motion of stars around it.
The researchers said: “This is the most massive black hole directly dynamically detected in the local universe. Considering the nature of the galaxy in which it is located, it is 4-9 times larger than expected, and it may be composed of two cores. Formed by the merger of exhausted elliptical galaxies.”
The circumstances that led to the formation of a supermassive black hole in Holm 15A are “probably rare,” but it suggests that black holes of this size could exist.
Mar Mezcua, author of the research paper and from the Spanish Institute of Space Sciences, said: “The black holes we discovered are much larger than expected. Are they so large because they are born, or because certain ideal conditions allow them to survive within tens of seconds? It has grown so big in billions of years, and we still don’t know the answer.”
The researchers hope to further study this massive black hole and develop more complex and detailed modeling around it. In turn, this will help them figure out how exactly these black holes are formed, and how many of these massive black holes are yet to be discovered.