Astronomers have found a black hole with the mass of 7 billion suns that throws into question previous ideas on how galaxies develop.
An international team of scientists have discovered a huge black hole in what appears to be a normal galaxy, finding that it has a mass of 7 billion times the mass of our sun — one of the largest ever discovered.
But what’s weird is that the galaxy actually has a fairly typical size, raising big questions for scientists that could throw the entire theory on how galaxies development into question, according to an Astronomy.com report.
Scientists used the W.M. Keck Observatory’s 10-meter Keck I Telescope, which is located in Hawaii, to make the findings. They look at a galaxy called CID-947 which is about 11 billion light-years away, meaning that it is a very early galaxy in the history of our universe, just 2 billion years after the big bang.
But despite the black hole’s extraordinary mass, the galaxy surrounding it was actually quite ordinary.
Typically, black holes have a mass of less than 1 percent of the galaxy, therefore the size of galaxies tend to be proportionate to the size of the black holes at the centers of them. But in this case, the black hole makes up a whopping 10 percent of the host galaxy.
How did this happen? Scientists think that the black hole may have grown so quickly that the host galaxy couldn’t keep up, meaning that scientists may have to change how they think about the co-evolution of galaxies and the black holes at their center.
The findings were so surprising, that two different astronomers verified the measurements of CID-947 independently. They both confirmed the results.
While it’s possible for the galaxy to continue growing, the incredibly disparity between the mass of the black hole and the galaxy itself is unlikely to shrink considerably.