Yes, black holes are in the news again. Bigger and badder and better than ever. It is generally accepted that at the core of every galaxy lies a supermassive black hole (SMBH). These behemoths are many times the size of ordinary black holes.
And unlike your garden-variety stellar-mass black hole, supermassive black holes didn’t form from a collapsing star; rather, they formed.... well, we actually don’t know how they formed. But we do know just how big they are. An ordinary black hole can have about five to several tens of times the mass of the Sun (solar masses), where our own galaxy’s SMBH has about four million solar masses.
We know they're out there, but we don't know how they got there. A new SMBH has now been discovered with about twelve billion solar masses. By itself, that’s not unprecedented; others have been discovered with roughly the same mass.
What’s astounding about the new discovery is the extreme distance of the SMBH—about 12.8 billion light-years from Earth—and hence, how quickly after the Big Bang it formed. To form within the first 875 million years of the Universe’s history, or a mere six percent of its age, has scientists scratching their heads as to how this could be. The more we discover, the more questions we end up with. Reference
Did You Know: Scientists believe there are rogue black holes wandering around out there travelling, perhaps hundreds in our Milky Way Galaxy. Let’s hope one doesn’t come our way. That would be a bad day for our solar system.
But Wait, That’s Not All: Astronomers have spotted what appear to be two super massive black holes at the heart of a remote galaxy, circling each other like dance partners. The incredibly rare sighting was made with the help of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Let’s hope there are no rogue binary super massive blacks holes wandering around out there.
Finally: I’m working on cover art for my latest book Salem’s Daughters and would greatly appreciate it if you could stop by my blog and give me your opinion on the three concepts I have. Thanks and hope you enjoyed today’s post.
You can visit Stephen Tremp at his Website Breakthrough Blogs. Stop by Friday through Sunday for the Weekend Follies, a great way to get a few laughs as you wind down the work week.