Scientists have discovered a giant black hole that is three billion times more massive than the sun.
ABC News reported that the black hole was produced by the collision of three spiral galaxies 1.8 billion light-years away from our planet. The accidental discovery has already been accepted for publication in the Royal Astronomical Society. A routine testing of their new telescope led to the discovery of the massive black hole.
The lead author, Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith, says that this newly found black hole is a “monster” as compared to the black hole located at our galaxy’s center. The previously discovered black hole was only four million times more massive than our sun.
Back in 1989, an observed gas in a distant galaxy known as astrophysical maser was reported in the Nature journal. The galaxy is said to be a combination of three galaxies, which are about to collide into each other. The black holes at the center of the galaxies are combining, leading to the formation of a giant black hole.
Dr. Harvey-Smith and her colleagues discovered that the speed of the maser is twice faster than originally thought. With a speed of at least 600 kilometres per second, the maser is moving really fast. This led to the confirmation that the black hole is indeed very big. The maser is being spun around by the supermassive black hole’s gravity.
The collision of galaxies paves the way to the formation of giant black holes and produces a starburst. In this case, this is when stars are formed, but a hundred times faster than normal. Knowing the giant black holes’ masses in galaxies of varying ages can provide scientists ideas on how the galaxies have changed through time.
Dr. Harvey-Smith said astronomers are interested to know if galaxy collisions and the creation of giant black holes are truly the driving forces behind the star formation rates in galaxies.