Biggest-ever black hole discovered

Biggest-ever black hole discovered

According to the scientists, the black hole, identified as M87, is as large as the orbit of Neptune and by far the largest and most distant galaxy in the nearby universe.

As a point of comparison, the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way is 1,000 times smaller than this one which has been observed some 50 million light years away. A black hole is a region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape. It is the result of the deformation of spacetime caused by a very compact mass.

Scientists, who used a specially adapted telescope in Hawaii to observe M87, believe that it is more than twice as heavy as had been previously thought, catapulting it into the record books, the Daily Mail reported.

The researchers said that it may have formed as a result of hundreds of smaller black holes merging into one at some point in the past. Speaking about the discovery, astronomer Karl Gebhardt of the University of Texas in Austin said: “It could swallow our solar system whole.”

Astronomer George Djorgovski, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who was also involved in the research, added that the chance to study such huge black holes are not just a curio for the record books.

He said: “In fact, future observations of this object might finally help us prove that what we call black holes are really black holes.”