Astronomers Uncover a Supermassive Black Hole in a Small Galaxy Group

Black holes are incredibly mysterious and fascinating, don’t you agree? Some of them are incredibly large, so large in fact that we can’t really wrap our minds around their massiveness, especially when we hear that they are several billion times the mass of our sun. Not too long ago, a group of astronomers uncovered an extremely large black hole that’s almost as big as the largest one known to man so far. It is actually 17 billion times bigger than our sun, and what makes it really interesting is that it is located in a relatively small galaxy group 200 million light years away. Usually, supermassive black holes that weigh at least 10 billion suns are located at the cores of large galaxies in heavily populated areas.

Dubbed NGC 1600, this particular black hole was measured using something called a MASSIVE Survey, which involved measuring the movements of stars within its influence with the help of the Gemini Observatory telescopes in Hawaii and Chile. Nobody really knows why it is so big, but a plausible theory is that it represents the result of two merging black holes. The reason behind its existence is not that important right now anyway. What matters is that scientists now know that supermassive black holes can exist in smaller groups of galaxies, and since these small groups are relatively common, it appears that these spacetime regions might be a lot more common than we thought.