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Astronomers Discover Near Record-Breaking Gargantuan Black Hole Weighing 17 Billion Suns

They found it in the last place they were expecting..

07/04/2016 09:12
NASA, ESA, and D. Coe, J. Anderson, and R. van der Marel (STScI)

Astronomers have discovered a 'behemoth' black hole weighing as much as 17 billion suns in the last place they expected.

According to NASA, the near record-breaking supermassive black hole was found at the centre of a galaxy in sparsely populated space, contradicting several theories that astronomers had over the development of gigantic black holes.

"While finding a gigantic black hole in a massive galaxy in a crowded area of the universe is to be expected – like running across a skyscraper in Manhattan – it seemed less likely they could be found in the universe’s small towns." writes NASA's Ashley Morrow.

So how did this almost unfathomable object end up appearing in the middle of nowhere?

Well astronomers now believe that galaxy NGC 1600, some 200 million light years from Earth, is the result of two black holes merging.

ESA/Hubble
Hubble captures the moment two galaxies, around 230 million miles away, merge together.

This would have happened in the early life of the universe when galactic collisions were far more common.

What likely happened was that as the galaxies merged the black holes at the centre of each would start to orbit each other.

During this intergalactic clash planets and solar systems would then potentially leave the gravitational pull of each, slowing the black holes of their momentum leading ultimately to a merging between the two.

The result? This hulking mass of absolute nothing, weighing some 10 billion times more than the mass of our own Sun.

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