Biggest Black Hole Ever?

Updated: Nov 30, 2019


The Big Picture:

An international team of astronomers from China, the United States, Spain, Australia, Italy, Poland, and the Netherlands have discovered the impossible: a black hole so large it shouldn't even exist!


How Big?

The team, headed by Professor Liu Jifeng of the National Astronomical Observatory of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, spotted a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times greater than our Sun. This monster black hole is located 15,000 light-years from Earth and has been named LB-1. The discovery is reported in the latest issue of Nature.


More Deets for the Astronomy Geeks:

Professor Jifeng's team surveyed the sky with China's Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), looking for stars that orbit an invisible object, pulled by its gravity. The world's largest optical telescopes—Spain's 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias in the Canary Islands and the United States' 10-meter Keck I telescope in Hawaii—were used to determine the system's physical parameters. They revealed a star eight times the mass of our Sun orbiting this monster black hole every 79 days. Source


Image Credit: Artist Impression, YU Jingchuan, Beijing Planetarium, 2019.