Scientists have made some new discoveries in distant galaxies. The new discoveries are of the most massive black holes that have ever been discovered with masses billions of times more than our own sun. The hope is that the discovery of such black holes, called supermassive black holes, will help us to learn how these gigantic catchers of light come to be.
One of the supermassive black holes was discovered in a galaxy dubbed NGC 3842, which is 320 million light years from the Earth in the Leo constellation. The black hole in the center of this galaxy has a mass of about 9.7 billion times that of our sun. That isn’t the largest of the new discoveries though. A supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy NGC 4889 in the Coma cluster 336 million light years away from us and has the mass of 21 billion suns.
The two black holes were found using the Hubble Space Telescope and the two largest ground telescopes in the world, Gemini North and Keck 2. These new black holes dwarf the previously largest known residing in the center of Messier 87 with a mass of 6.3 billion suns. Scientists think black holes this large may form in one of two ways. One way is the absorption of gas until it becomes massive or they may come to be after the merger of two lenticular galaxies with black holes at the center.