Two biggest black holes in the universe discovered, astronomers say

By on Dec 6, 2011 in Astronomy, Science, United States Comments

Astronomers have reportedly discovered what is being dubbed as the two biggest black holes in the universe ever found, with one of them to be having almost double the mass of the other.



Illustration of black hole, having a mass of about
9.7 billion Suns; with inset is our solar system

Image Credit: Pete Marenfeld/Nature.com

According to a post at Nature News blog on Monday, December 5, 2011, the two massive black holes were discovered using the instruments on the Keck II and Gemini North telescopes in Hawaii.

As noted in the report, which will also appear in the Nature journal this week, astronomers found out that a cluster galaxy known as NGC 3842 has a black hole with a mass equivalent to 9.7 billion Suns, which sits around 320 million light-years away in a huge elliptical galaxy within the Leo galaxy cluster.

The bigger one, which was found in another galaxy called NGC 4889, has a black hole of about 20 billion Suns, but is being believed to be as big as 37 billion; and resides about 336 million light-years away at the center of a galaxy within the Coma galaxy cluster.

The so-called two largest black holes have been discovered by a team of astronomers led by Chung-Pei Ma, a cosmologist at the University of California (UCLA) in Berkeley, along with Nicholas J. McConnell.

“These are the most massive reliably measured black holes ever,” McConnell, a graduate student of UCLA, was quoted in an e-mail sent to the New York Times.

“Our discovery of extremely massive black holes in the largest present-day galaxies suggests that these galaxies could be the ancient remains of voracious ancestors.” Mr. McConnell added.

The two recently newly discovered biggest black holes broke the record of what was been found in M87 galaxy, which has a mass of 6.3 billion and approximately 50 million light-years from Earth.



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