Skip to comments.Black holes can grow to 50 billion times the mass of the Sun... and then stop
Posted on 12/21/2015 1:15:25 PM PST by Red Badger
Black holes can only grow if they have a gas disc to feed on NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr
Black holes can only grow to 50 billion times the mass of the Sun, before they lose their only source of 'food' and stop growing. Scientists discovered that black holes have a size limit, as when it gets so big, the gas which feeds the great void loses its energy, and falls into the unknown.
A researcher from the University of Leicester analysed the disc of gas which surrounds supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies. He found that these gas discs are unstable, and can lose their energy and crumble when the outer edge of the black hole gets to a certain length.
"The significance of this discovery is that astronomers have found black holes of almost the maximum mass," said Andrew King, author of the study. "The mass limit means that this procedure should not turn up any masses much bigger than those we know, because there would not be a luminous [gas] disc."
The study, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, says that once the black hole loses its gas disc, it stops growing. This suggests that 50 billion Suns roughly equals the maximum mass of a black hole.
King does, however, say that there are alternatives that would allow it to keep growing, without its own gas disc.
"Bigger black hole masses are in principle possible -- for example, a hole near the maximum mass could merge with another black hole, and the result would be bigger still," he confirmed.
He adds that these merged black holes would still not have a gas disc though, and therefore the usual manner of detecting black holes would not work. Other means of detection could still be used.
Traditionally, scientists detect black holes on Earth by analysing the gas discs. The gas molecules spin so quickly around the black hole that they heat up, and emit X-rays. On Earth, the X-rays can then be detected, to prove the presence of a black hole.
We could still detect merged black holes though, by investigating the manner in which light bends as it passes very close to it.
In our galaxy alone, there are around 100 million black holes. The Hubble Telescope gives us estimates of around 100 billion galaxies in our universe. That means there are roughly 10 quintillion black holes in our universe... and a new one is made every second. More about black holes
Galactic archaeology reveals supermassive black hole caused 'dramatic explosion' Supermassive black hole gobbles up star then burps out high-speed flare from event horizon Nasa animation shows star torn apart by black hole [Video]
There’s matter in black holes....................
How big, size wise, would that thing be?
Out past the Oort Cloud.............................
The Good News: The biggest black holes that we can see are only 50 billion times more massive than the sun.
The Bad News: We can’t see the REALLY big ones.
Seems like to me that if a black hole was super massive, we could detect some lensing from its outer edges from the background stars...................
According to my chalkboard it is 51.302756621734491 times as big with our Sun measured at 3:1307 Zulu Eastern Standard Time 12/20/2015.
Algore had no input but agreed that it proves Global Warming is even more dire than earlier predictions. Carbon Credits will no longer save us! Super Massive Carbon Credits are now the only way to survive past 2020.
No more than 50 galaxies for you, Mr. Hole. You’re cut off.
And take that Hawking radiation somewhere else, please.
"Falls into the unknown"? What kind of explanation is this?
Since a black hole can only be observed indirectly thru its gravitational effect, perhaps when it reaches a certain mass the spacial bending becomes so massive even the indirect effect can't be seen.
Super Massive Black Hole:
Yeah, who’s gonna make me?.......................
Zulu Eastern Standard Time?...............
I feel better now. I thought they would keep growing indefinitely and eat up the whole universe.
I swear my closet works the same way. I blame the shoes.
Nope, not going there. Not on a bet.
And you can bank on that one.
What am I missing here?
Thanks Red Badger.
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