There are supermassive black holes, and there could be something larger than supermassive: supermassive black holes, according to the latest research.
Such hypothetical black holes – more than 100 billion times the mass of the Sun – are explored in a new research paper called SLABs, an acronym for “Stupendously LArge Black holeS”.
Astronomer Bernard Carr, from Queen Mary University of London, explained: “We already know that black holes exist on a wide range of masses, with a supermassive black hole of 4 million solar masses sitting at the center of our galaxy. Although there is currently no evidence for SLABs, it is conceivable that they may also exist outside galaxies in intergalactic space, with interesting observational consequences.
Black holes contain a few fairly broad classes of mass. There are stellar mass black holes. These are black holes orbiting the mass of a star of up to about 100 solar masses.
The next category is medium mass black holes.
Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) are much larger, in the range of millions to billions of solar masses. They include the SMBH at the core of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A *, at 4 million solar masses, and M87 * at 6.5 billion solar masses.
They include the recently discovered black holes and an absolute monster recording 40 billion solar masses at the center of a galaxy called Holmberg 15A.
Carr said, “However, it is surprising that the idea of SLABs has so far been largely neglected. We have suggested options for how these SLABs might be formed, and we hope our work will start stimulating discussions among the community. ”
Scientists do not fully know how large black holes form and grow. One possibility says that it forms in its host galaxy, then grows larger and larger by devouring a large group of stars, gas and dust, and colliding with other black holes when galaxies merge.
This model has an upper bound of about 50 billion solar masses – this is the limit at which the massive mass of an object requires a massive growing disk. But there is also a big problem: In the early universe, supermassive black holes have been found at masses too large to grow in this relatively slow process in time, since the Big Bang.
Another possibility, something called primordial black holes, was first proposed in 1966. The theory says that the changing density of the early universe may have produced pockets so dense that it collapsed into black holes. These will not be subject to the limitations of the size of the black holes of collapsing stars, and they can be extremely small or enormously large.
Based on a primitive black hole model, the team calculated how large these black holes are, between 100 billion and 1 quintillion (18 zeros) solar masses.
The researchers said the purpose of the research paper is to look at the effect of such black holes on the surrounding space. We may not be able to see planks directly – black holes in which material accumulation is not visible, as light cannot escape their gravity – but massive, invisible objects can still be detected based on the way the space around them behaves.
For example, gravity bends spacetime, causing light to travel through these regions to follow a curved path. This is called a gravitational lensing, the team said, and the effect could be used to detect SLABs in intergalactic space.
Massive objects will also have implications for the discovery of dark matter, the invisible mass that pumps more gravity into the universe than it should – based on what we can actually discover directly.
One of the hypothetical dark material candidates, WIMPs, accumulates in the region surrounding the SLAB due to the tremendous gravity, in such concentrations that they will collide with each other and eliminate each other, creating a halo of gamma rays.
“Dark wood panels cannot provide dark matter,” Carr said. But if it did exist at all, it would have important implications for the early universe and make it plausible that lighter primordial black holes might do so. ”
The team’s research is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society).