Astronomers detected a supermassive black hole that is too large for its host galaxy. The giant black hole dubbed CID-947 has the mass of 7 billion suns and is several dozen times larger than it should be if we look at the galaxy’s size, the research team suggests.
Scientists believe that the new discovery would challenge most current theories about galaxy formation. The team used several space and ground telescope to scrutinize the black hole.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hawaiian W.M. Keck Observatory revealed that the gas around the black hole moves so fast because CID-947 is a space object with an unusual large size.
C. Megan Urry of Yale University disclosed that the findings surprised all team members. Their initial goal was to survey “average” space bodies, not “exotic” ones.
“This project specifically targeted moderate black holes that inhabit typical galaxies today. It was quite a shock to see such a ginormous black hole,”
Prof Urry added.
But the team was shocked especially by the large gap between the mass of the host galaxy and that of the black hole. Benny Trakhtenbrot, researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, in Switzerland who was also involved in the study, said that the new findings pointed out an enormous black hole within a regular-sized host galaxy.
Researchers explained that supermassive black holes lie at the core of many galaxies. But their mass is only 0.2 to 0.5 percent of the host galaxy’s mass. Yet, CID-947 is about one tenth of its host’s size.
The find was so surprising that scientists needed to double-check the results. They requested help from astronomers not involved in the project to see wether the findings were accurate.
The new discovery challenges previous conception that supermassive black holes and their host galaxies grow at the same pace. Unlike the rest of known black holes, CID-947 outgrew its host at an alarming rate.
The findings are at odds with another scientific model on how galaxies form. Although, CID-947 can no longer grow, researchers detected some stars that were still forming. Past models suggested that the radiation around a black hole would obstruct the emergence of new stars.
Trakhtenbrot noted that despite the supermassive black hole entering sleep mode, the galaxy continues to grow, which contradicts many previous models and theories about galaxy formation.
The team speculates that the phenomenon may be linked to the supermassive black hole’s age. Scientists explained that black holes formed in the dense atmosphere of early universe were more likely to absorb the nearby gas without burping too much back into their host galaxies.
Image Source: Telusers