NASA scientists discovered a supermassive black hole whose size contradicts the laws of physics. The stunning find was led by astronomers at the University of Central Lancashire and Keele University.
At first, they used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light, and detected galaxy SAGE0536AGN, believed to be approximately 9 billion years old.
Afterwards, the scientists identified an active galactic nucleus (AGN), an object of spectacular brightness, formed because of the gravitational forces of a black hole located at the galaxy’s core. The mass of gas moves at incredibly high velocity under the black hole’s pull, and as a result it emits light.
Then, the Southern African Large Telescope assisted the researchers in determining the black hole’s actual size, by measuring Doppler redshift. The results were completely baffling, according to a press release issued by the Royal Astronomical Society.
The black hole was estimated to be a staggering 350 million times larger than the mass of the Sun. In comparison, the mass of the galaxy amounts to 25 billion solar masses, making it just 70 times larger than the black hole.
This means that in fact the black hole is 30 times more massive than it had been predicted for a galaxy of this size, which challenges current theories regarding the evolution of galaxies. According to experts, these findings call into question our entire understanding of physics.
“Galaxies have a vast mass, and so do the black holes in their cores. This one though is really too big for its boots – it simply shouldn’t be possible for it to be so large”, explained Dr. Jacco van Loon, astrophysicist at Keele University, and lead author of the paper.
Researchers are speculating that the black hole grew at a much higher pace than the galaxy around it, or that somehow the galaxy’s expansion was prematurely halted, leaving it surprisingly small for its central black hole.
It is unclear if this type of system is the exception to the rule, or it might represent a class of galaxy which hadn’t been categorized before.
Further details regarding this earth-shattering discovery which will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It appears that black holes have been in the news recently, with new discoveries destabilizing previously held beliefs.
On September 16, the Nature journal announced that 2 black holes in the Virgo constellation are set for an imminent collision approximately 100,000 years from now. This was surprising at the time, given that many people didn’t expect black holes to reach such small distances between each other and actually merge into one.
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