UC Berkeley astronomers have discovered two largest black holes ever found to date. Black holes are dense matter with strong gravitational fields that can even block light. The newly discovered two giant black holes weigh more than 10 billion suns together. The black holes are so big that they can consume light even if it gets close to the distance of about five times the size of our solar system.
The two black holes are located 300 million light years away from our Earth and at the centers of two galaxies. The scientists believe that these giant monsters may be the dark remnants of very bright galaxies, called quasars. The path breaking results is about to be published in this week issue of Nature journal. In the press release by UC Berkeley, Chung-Pei Ma, UC Berkeley professor of astronomy said that
In the early universe, there were lots of quasars or active galactic nuclei, and some were expected to be powered by black holes as big as 10 billion solar masses or more. These two new supermassive black holes are similar in mass to young quasars, and may be the missing link between quasars and the supermassive black holes we see today.
The first author of the paper and the UC Berkeley graduate student, Nicholas McConnell said that
These black holes may shed light on how black holes and their surrounding galaxies have nurtured each other since the early universe.
The work was collaborative effort between UC Berkeley, University of Toronto, Texas and Michigan, and National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Arizona researchers.