What could be the most massive black holes in the universe have recently been found. Ultramassive black holes some 3.5 billion light-years away from Earth have been discovered with the help of NASA's Chandra X-ray telescope.
A research team studied approximately 72 galaxies situated at the core of the universe's most massive and brightest galaxy clusters. The scientists found the ultramassive black holes to be growing more than the stars in their parent galaxies.
Ultramassive Black Holes
Most of the ultramassive black holes' masses have been found to be about 10 times the size of the one initially projected. More than half of the black holes have masses that are about 10 billion times the size of the sun. The size of the black holes qualified them as ultramassive black holes.
According to the lead study authors, Mar Mezcua and Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo, they had not anticipated the black holes to be as massive as they were found out to be.
“We have discovered black holes that are far larger and way more massive than anticipated,” said Mezcua. “Are they so big because they had a head start or because certain ideal conditions allowed them to grow more rapidly over billions of years?
Mezcua added that at present they do not have any way to know.
According to Hlavacek-Larrondo, ultramassive black holes are powerful enough to destroy most of its parent galaxy. Despite that, the Milky Way is not threatened by the supermassive black hole located at its center. She likened it to a dormant volcano that is not highly active.
A black hole, which is an invisible celestial object, forms when a huge star dies and then collapses on itself. It can distort time around them. As with the theory of relativity by Albert Einstein, time passes more slowly in the gravitational fields of black holes.
The gravitational pull of a black hole is so powerful that neither light nor matter can escape it. A black hole swallows everything that comes its way, like a vortex without a bottom, according to Hlavacek-Larrondo.
The research team studied the black holes located billions of light-years from Earth to observe how the celestial objects have been crucially affecting their galactic neighborhoods and the whole cosmos for billions of years.
Hlavacek-Larrondo said that black holes are the universe's most strong objects and they are not quiet. Black holes have to be studied to understand the origin and evolution of galaxies, which are the universe's building blocks.
The paper was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.