Cluster of galaxies in Perseus

(Photo Credit: David W. Hogg, Michael Blanton, SDSS Collaboration)

The small lenticular galaxy NGC 1277 now holds the record for the most enormous supermassive black hole; 17 billion solar masses. This is 14% of the mass of the galaxy itself. The event horizon of the SMBH is 4 light days in extent, some twenty times larger than the orbit of Neptune. The galaxy is just above right of center.

ArXiv abstract to Nature paper.

Image credits: NASA/ESA/Andrew C. Fabian / Remco C. E. van den Bosch (MPIA)

Out of proportion black hole is a rare cosmic fossil

If the result stands, the black hole may be a pristine remnant of an ancient quasar. […] NGC 1277’s stars are all old and its shape indicates it has not collided with other galaxies, so it may preserve a record of why the super-quasars grew so fast in the early universe.


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