The studied giant black hole, known as ‘J2157’, was discovered by the same research team in 2018. New research led by the Australian National University (ANU) has revealed how massive it really is .
The study has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society .
The team, which includes researchers from the University of Arizona, used ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile to precisely measure the mass of the black hole.
Its mass is roughly 8,000 times the mass of Sagittarius A *, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. This object is 34 billion times the mass of the Sun and gobbles up the equivalent of a Sun every day. According to Fuyan Bian , an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory (ESO):
We knew we were with a very massive black hole when we noticed its rapid growth rate. How much black holes can swallow depends on how much mass they already have. So for this object to be devouring matter at such a high rate, we thought it could become a new record holder. And now we know.
It is hidden within the massive galaxy Holm 15A, 700 million light years from Earth . They arrived at the estimate of its mass after capturing images of the stars orbiting the hole, and using a model to calculate its size. Holm’s supermassive black hole 15A is not only the largest to date, but it is also four to nine times larger than expected.