Scientists find giant black hole weighing as much as 12 billion suns

(Next Media) – The discovery of a giant black hole which is growing faster than usual challenges our current theories of black hole expansion.

Led by Xue-Bing Wu of China’s Peking University, a team of scientists detected a giant black hole they have named SDSS J010013.021280225.8. Though it is not the biggest black hole ever found, it is the biggest one detected in terms of luminosity: 40,000 times more bright than our solar system, the Milky Way, said Avi Loeb, Chair of the Department of Astronomy of Harvard University in an interview with National Geographic. He was not involved in this research.

Apart from its size, what is astonishing is that it was formed only 875 million years after the big bang—a relatively short period for a black hole to grow to such a massive size.

Scientists are are not certain what accounts for the black hole’s rapid development, but one of the possibilities is that two black holes collided when the universe was very young.

A black hole starts to form when the core of a dying star loses nuclear fuel, allowing gravity to overcome outward pressure. The core explodes and the star becomes a supernova.

The black hole has such a powerful gravitational pull that nothing, including light, can escape. Yet, scientists can detect the existence of black holes from their quasars, a glow of radiating gas and matter. The black hole also absorbs other stars in its vicinity.

SOURCES: Reuters, National Geographic, NASA