"Ultramassive black holes — that is, black holes with masses exceeding 10 billion solar masses — are probably not rare; several and even
dozens of these colossal black holes may exist," study lead author Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo, an astrophysicist at Stanford University, told
This is interesting.
Apparently it has been determined that some of the most massive supermassive black holes that have been discovered are much denser than previously
"Some of our black hole mass predictions are just lower limits, so they could be higher," Hlavacek-Larrondo said. "Just how big do I think they
can get? I would bet that a least one 100-billion-solar-mass black hole exists among our objects, which really is ultra-big."
Oddly, these black holes are about 10 times larger than one would expect from the size of their host galaxies.
"These results may mean we don't really understand how the very biggest black holes coexist with their host galaxies," said study author Andrew
Fabian of England's Cambridge University. "It looks like the behavior of these huge black holes has to differ from that of their less massive
cousins in an important way."
I don't know about anyone else, but I think it is awesome that every time we think we have figured out something about how the universe works, we
tend to end up with even more questions than we started with.
The answer to this mystery may have to do with where these black holes were discovered. All of these potentially ultramassive black holes lie in
galaxies at the centers of massive galaxy clusters containing huge amounts of hot gas. Black holes probably generate the outbursts of energy that keep
this hot gas from cooling and forming huge numbers of stars, researchers say.
We should be able to learn more about these big suckers once the James Webb Space Telescope gets launched in a few years. I'm excited about all the
new stuff we'll learn once that thing is up and running.
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