Scientists have spotted a supermassive black hole that is, weirdly enough, too massive. It’s so big, it has researchers puzzled over how and why it has grown so large.
The Royal Astronomical Society said the galaxy, SAGE0536AGN, is either an “oddball” or a “new class” of galaxies. It’s located approximately 2 billion light-years from Earth and contains roughly 25 billion times the mass of the sun. As Space notes, galaxies this big typically harbor central black holes with the equivalent of 12 million solar masses or so. Which, yeah, is insane in itself. But SAGE0536AGN looks to be 30 times that heavy, with a weight of 350 million solar masses.
"Galaxies have a vast mass, and so do the black holes in their cores," lead author Jacco van Loon said in a statement. "This one, though, is really too big for its boots — it simply shouldn’t be possible for it to be so large."
The real puzzle is why the supermassive black hole is so much larger than it should be, in relation to the size of the galaxy. The best guesses posit that either the black hole somehow grew faster than the galaxy, or the galaxy perhaps stopped growing as the black hole kept chugging along.
Though this is insanely big and strange, it’s not the biggest supermassive black hole ever spotted. But those larger black holes typically fit into larger galaxies, not ones so weirdly out of whack as this one.
No surprise: The universe continues to be a big, weird and mysterious place.