Scientists have discovered the largest black holes yet, and they’re far bigger than researchers expected based on the galaxies in which they were found.
The new findings suggest that one galaxy, known as NGC 3842, the brightest galaxy in the Leo cluster of galaxies nearly 320 million light years distant, has a central black hole 9.7 billion solar masses large. The other, named NGC 4889, the brightest galaxy in the Coma cluster more than 335 million light years away, has a black hole of comparable or larger mass. Both encompass regions or “event horizons” about five times the distance from the sun to Pluto.
“For comparison, these black holes are 2,500 times as massive as the black hole at the center of the
Milky Way galaxy, whose event horizon is one-fifth the orbit of Mercury,” said study lead author Nicholas McConnell at the University of California, Berkeley.