Biggest Black Holes

This is more about big numbers than it is about science, but a team from Berkeley just found two supermassive black holes around 11 billion solar masses in the core of some nearby elliptical galaxies. The cool thing is that these might be the sorts of objects that powered quasars in the early universe. It makes sense because the quasars would have eventually gone out as their host galaxies ran out of gas, since ellipticals are basically gas-free we don't have quasars anymore.

Here's the thing though... 11 billion solar masses. Ten to the ten solar masses. The Schwartzchild radius for a black hole is around 3 km per solar mass. So these new monsters have even horizons three times ten to the thirteenth meters across.

That's about two percent of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Not very impressive? Actually very impressive. If we popped it in where the sun is, it would be twice as big on the sky, a little bit over a full degree of pure blackness. With all of the sky behind it lensed around.

Never mind the fact that it would make time run funny. I've kind of decided that the only way I can live out my life's ambitions is to jump into a black hole b-t-dubs.


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One thought on “Biggest Black Holes”

  1. Just testing the new captcha system. Hopefully it works.

    And hopefully everyone who reads this blog can actually do simple math.

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