Saturday, July 20, 2024

The largest black hole ever discovered: TON 618 (66 billion times more massive than the Sun)


10.4 billion light-years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Canis lucidum. This is where the black hole is located at the center of quasar TON 618.

It is 10.4 billion light years away from us. Terrain the direction of the constellation Canis lupus. This is where Black hole To the center of the quasar 618 tonsIts mass is estimated to be 66 billion times greater. Shoe.

Let’s do the math:

  • The mass of the sun is 2 × 10^30 kg.
  • The mass of a ton is 1.32 × 10^41 kg.

Just over 1 followed by 41 kilograms of zeros… try writing it down and see what it is. Amazing number!

But what is a quasar?

Black hole 618 tons
event horizon representation 618 tonsCompared to S5 0014+81 and our solar system.
Source: (user abdouh15)

They are extremely energetic features in the nuclei of some galaxies, which are believed to be fed by the accumulation of gas on their surfaces. supermassive black holes (At least a mass hundreds of thousands of times greater than the mass of the Sun) is placed at its center. It is estimated that such monsters swallow the equivalent mass of hundreds of Earths per minute! These supermassive black holes They form and grow mainly during galaxy mergers. When two galaxies of similar mass merge, their central black holes merge and a small percentage of their gas is accreted by the new black hole through the formation of an accretion disk, all over a time period of about 10 million years.

Gas temperature rises dramatically

During this time, the conversion of gravitational energy into thermal energy, combined with large frictions, heats the gas enormously, up to hundreds of thousands of degrees. Acceleration of the gas to relativistic velocities, thermionic emission and other mechanisms (such as synchrotron and inverse Compton processes, respectively in the radio and gamma bands) ensure that a portion of the increasing mass (up to values ​​of the order of 10%) is emitted as radiation reaching a luminosity as great as a million billion suns!

See also  ASI | Italian Space Agency
Poco Nero, the quasar
Artistic representation A Quasar And its accretion disk. Credit: NASA

Quasar and Poco Nero

the name Quasar It was initially introduced because these objects were discovered as powerful radio sources, while visually they had a point-like star-like appearance, giving rise to the “quasi-stellarAn object, that is, objects that closely resemble very distant stars, albeit with anomalous radio emission. From the abbreviation of this expression came the name “quasar”.


  • Kaufman et al.; Lee, L. A. Astron. Soc.311, 576±588 (2000);
  • Masaru et al. 2009; Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 495, No. 2, 2009, pp. 691-696..


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