June 2, 2023

Dubai Week

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A revolutionary discovery.. a new black hole equal to 33 billion times the mass of the Sun

Durham University scientists say the black hole is one of the largest ever discovered.

The team described their findings, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, as “very exciting”.

The story of this giant hole

  • Lead researcher James Nightingale, from Durham University’s Department of Physics, said: “This particular black hole is about 30 billion times the mass of our Sun.
  • It is one of the largest black holes ever discovered.
  • According to our studies, it is at the “upper limit” of the size of black holes, meaning it is the largest black hole ever discovered.
  • Supermassive black holes are the most massive objects in the universe, ranging from 10 billion to 40 billion times the mass of the Sun.
  • Astronomers believe it can be found at the center of all large galaxies, such as the Milky Way.
  • Some believe they formed from the intense merger of massive galaxies billions of years ago when the universe was still young.

How was it discovered?

  • The researchers used a phenomenon called gravitational lensing, by turning a nearby galaxy into a giant magnifying glass.
  • This revealed the existence of a supermassive black hole, a region where gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape.
  • Using supercomputer simulations at Durham University and images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists have confirmed the size of the supermassive black hole.
  • This is the first black hole detected by gravitational lensing, they said.
  • Dr Nightingale said: Most of the supermassive black holes we know of are active, where matter pulled in close to the black hole heats up and emits energy in the form of light, X-rays and other radiation.
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