National Science Foundation program director Dr Pesce addressed fears the entire universe could collapse into a supermassive black hole on a recent Space.com AMA. One space enthusiast asked the expert: “Have we, to date, witnessed a perceivable increase in the mass of a black hole due to matter falling into it? And, if this is the case, and black holes simply get larger and larger as they consume matter, doesn’t that mean that eventually the universe will simply collapse into one supermassive black hole?”
Dr Pesce was, fortunately, able to reassure the public the Universe’s demise by a black hole was ‘not possible’.
So probably the whole Universe collapsing into a black hole is not possible
e said: “Black holes generally ‘feed’ slowly [in a relative sense] such that the added mass is a small percentage of the total mass.
“This is true for a stellar-sized black hole [say with 5 times the mass of the Sun] pulling mass from a nearby companion star, or a supermassive black hole [say with 1 billion times the mass of the Sun] consuming a star with two to three solar masses.
“If we had sensitive enough instruments we could measure that change, but I don’t believe we are quite there yet.”
Black hole: Dr Pesce addressed fears the entire universe could collapse into a supermassive monster
The Universe is now known to be expanding at an ever-expanding rate.
As a result, content is continually getting farther away from everything else.
The astronomer added: “So probably the whole Universe collapsing into a black hole is not possible.”
The biggest black holes, such as the one in M87 boasts 6.5 billion solar masses.
However, the galaxy in which that big black hole resides is found has trillions of solar masses in gas, dust, stars, dark matter.
Therefore, although the black hole is unimaginably massive, it is relatively minuscule compared with the rest of its cosmic neighbourhood.
However, astronomers have now detected a black hole so large it even dwarfs M87.
Space scientists have since the 1990s suspected most large galaxies in the Universe are likely to have one.
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And thanks to new research led by astronomers from the Australian National University (ANU), the latest undisputed heavy-weight contender has been found.
With roughly 34 billion times the mass of our Sun, this SMBH (J2157) is the fastest-growing black hole and largest quasar observed to date.
As ANU’s Dr Christopher Onken revealed in a recent press release, what they found was rather surprising.
He said: “The black hole’s mass is also about 8,000 times bigger than the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way.
“If the Milky Way’s black hole wanted to grow that fat, it would have to swallow two-thirds of all the stars in our Galaxy.
“We’re seeing it at a time when the universe was only 1.2 billion years old, less than 10 percent of its current age.
“It’s the biggest black hole that’s been weighed in this early period of the Universe.”