5 Most Massive Black Holes Discovered So Far

Black holes are one of the most massive and mysterious objects in the Universe. A product of Einstein's 100 year old General Theory of Relativity, black holes continue to bewilder the physicists till date. Today, we look at the 5 most massive black holes that have been discovered so far. The unit of mass here isn't Kg, but solar mass. 1 solar mass is 2 million trillion trillion Kg (2 followed by 30 zeroes Kg)!

5. NGC 6166 - 3x1010 Solar Masses

At a distance of 490 million light years from Earth lies a supermassive galaxy named NGC 6166. Beautiful it may seem, but in its heart is located a "Matter Eating Monster", bigger than our entire solar system. Well, that went more like a bit of storytelling, but still, its active nucleus is a thing to keep distance from.

Most Massive Black Holes

4. H1821+643 - 3x1010 Solar Masses

Identified in 2014, back then it was considered the most supermassive black hole. Termed as a quasar, this black hole boasts a gigantic mass of over 30 billion solar masses. The black hole is located in the constellation of Draco, at a distance of over 10.4 Gly (Giga-Light Year).

3. S5 0014+81 - 4x1010 Solar Masses

Also Read: 5 Amazing Facts About The First Black Hole Image

S5 0014+81 has been recognized as a compact Optically Violent Variable (OVV) quasar. Although the object may not be the most supermassive black hole, still it holds the record for being the brightest. For instance, had it been 280 light years from the Earth, it would have given the same energy as the Sun does (which only 8 light-minutes away!).

2. IC 1101 - (4-10)x1010 Solar Masses

IC 1101 is a supergiant elliptical galaxy wandering in the middle of Abell 2029 Galaxy cluster. It has been debated to be the biggest galaxy ever found, with its halo extending to a radius of over 2 million light-years. The most impressive thing about the galaxy is the black hole it houses. Researchers still lack accurate measurements, but indications are that it weighs over 40 billion solar masses.

1. TON 618 - 6.6x1010 Solar Masses

So here we welcome the Father of all! The biggest black hole to be ever discovered, TON 618. Located near the Northern Galactic Pole, it was discovered using the 0.7 m Schmidt telescope at the Tonantzintla Observatory in Mexico. This black hole outshines its entire galaxy with an absolute magnitude of -30.7! The black hole is estimated to have a Schwarzschild radius of 1,300 AU.

Also Read: Basics of Astrophysics Series

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