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'Behemoth' Black Hole Found in the Most Unexpected Place

Apr 08, 2016 08:54 AM EDT
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Simulated image of the super massive black hole at NGC1600
This computer-simulated image shows a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy. Its powerful gravity distorts the space around it, creating a mirror-in-a-funhouse effect.
(Photo : NASA, ESA, and D. Coe, J. Anderson, and R. van der Marel [Space Telescope Science Institute])

Monster black holes can usually be found at the core of very large galaxies and is rarely seen in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area in the universe.

The is the reason why researchers at NASA were shocked when they uncovered a massive black hole weighing about 17 billion suns in the center of NGC 1600.

NGC 1600 is a massive elliptical galaxy located in a small grouping of 20 or so galaxies called cosmic black water.

The distance between the Earth and NGC 1600 is about 200 million light-years.

According to a report from, The Verge, the massive black hole found in the center of NGC 1600 is ten times larger than what the scientist have predicted based on the size of the said galaxy.

This discovery opposed the developed correlation between a black hole's mass and the mass of the central bulge of stars of its host galaxy.

One idea proposed by the researchers to explain the abnormal size of the black hole is the possibility of a merger between two black holes in the past when galaxy interactions are more frequent.

In a press release, researchers explained that when two galaxies merge, their black holes settle in the center of the newly formed galaxy and orbits each other.

As time passed, the gravitational interaction between the two black holes causes them to move closer witheach other until gradually merging forming one massive black hole.

In a report from NASA, researchers described finding the black hole in NGC 1600 like running across a skyscraper. It is common in Manhattan, but it is less likely to in small towns.

This suggests that massive black holes are more common than originally thought.

The discovery of the massive black hole was made using the observations made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii.

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