Two Behemoth Black Holes, the Largest Ever Discovered, Could Swallow Billions of Suns

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 17:50 in Astronomy & Space

Behemoth Black Hole This figure shows the immense size of the black hole discovered in the galaxy NGC 3842. The black hole is at its center and is surrounded by stars (shown as an artist's concept in the central figure). The black hole is seven times larger than Pluto's orbit. Our solar system (inset) would be dwarfed by it. Pete MarenfeldGood thing they are 330 million light-years away Astronomers have measured the two most enormous supermassive black holes found so far, vast realms of titanic gravity large enough to swallow 10 of our solar systems. The black holes are much bigger than predicted, suggesting extra-large galaxies and their black holes grow and evolve differently than smaller ones. One of the monstrous black holes, in the center of the galaxy NGC 3842, weighs as much as 9.7 billion suns. It is about 331 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. The other...

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