Scientists are looking for a black hole 100 billion times the size of our sun – or bigger – in the hopes that studying it will help better understand what dark matter is and how it was created
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Scientists are hoping giant black holes could unlock the secrets to the universe after speculating that the anomalies could reach a mass of 100 billion suns – or bigger.
Boffins are now hoping to discover one such black hole in space in the hopes of further study to better understand exactly how the universe was created.
Scientists think one of the super-size black holes could prove a key to understanding dark matter – a mysterious energy that makes up to four-fifths of the matter in the universe.
It is believed black holes exist at the centre of most, and potentially all, galaxies – with a singularity named Sagittarius A* at the centre of our very own Milky Way.
The Milky Way black hole is estimated to be 4.5 million times the size of the sun in the centre of our solar system.
While the largest known black hole, called TON 618, is believed to be the size of approximately 66 billion stars – but scientists think there could be bigger ones out there.
Space.com shared details of a new study in which researchers dubbed theoretical black holes 100 billion solar masses in size or larger as “stupendously large black holes,” or SLABs.
There is currently no evidence that SLABs exist, but there are supermassive black holes almost that size, according to the researchers.
Florian Kühnel, a theoretical cosmologist at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, told the website: “It’s surprising that little attention has been paid to the possible existence of stupendously massive black holes until now, because they could exist in principle.”
They originally believed it would be the result of multiple black holes merging together – but that theory proved flawed as supermassive black holes would not have had the time to reach their current sizes due to the age of the universe itself.
This has led to a theory that primordial black holes could have existed – suggesting they would almost pre-date the creation of the universe, created split seconds after the Big Bang, and that this could help learn more about the existence of dark matter.
Luca Visinelli, a particle astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam, advocated the theory, saying in the research study: “There has been a lot of interest in whether primordial black holes of modest mass could provide the dark matter.”
While Bernard Carr, a theoretical cosmologist at Queen Mary University of London, told Space.com: “Some people may be skeptical about the existence of SLABs on the grounds that they would be hard to form.
“However, people were also skeptical about intermediate-mass and supermassive black holes until they were found. We do not know if SLABs exist, but we hope our paper will motivate discussion among the community.”
Black hole, Star, Universe, TON 618, Dark matter, Scientist
World news – CA – Black holes the ‘size of 100 billion suns’ may hold secrets of universe