Researchers have long sought to unravel the mystery of black holes. Contrary to what one might think, it is not a void present in space. Black holes are in fact the result of a great accumulation of matter. Their gravitational field is such that they trap all the matter which ventures in their furrow.
They are classified according to their size. So far, only supermassive and ultramassive black holes have been known. However, a recent study by a team of European researchers suggests that there is another category of black holes. Their size would be much larger than those of supermassive and ultramassive black holes.
This new category of black holes has been dubbed SLABs for “Stupendously LArge Black holeS. "
Black holes that are 100 billion times more massive than the Sun
The scientists behind this study believe that SLABs are 100 billion times more massive than the Sun. However, the existence of these black holes is still purely hypothetical. For the moment, there are no tangible elements that support this theory.
Despite this, astronomer Bernard Carr, of Queen Mary's University in London, said this hypothesis should not be ruled out.
“We already know that black holes exist in a wide range of masses. For example, we have a supermassive black hole of 4 million solar masses located at the center of our galaxy. Although there is currently no evidence for the existence of SLABs, it is conceivable that they could exist and that they could also reside outside galaxies in intergalactic space. "
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A first theory on the formation of black holes
Until the existence of SLABs is proven, supermassive black holes remain the largest we know of to date. Their size varies from a few million to billions of solar masses. Among the black holes in this category that have been listed by the researchers, we can mention among others the Sagittarius A * and the M87 *.
Bernard Carr and his colleagues are not giving up on the idea of finding SLABs. The first step in their research is to understand how these extremely large black holes form.
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“We have submitted proposals on how SLABs could be formed and we hope that our work will begin to motivate discussions within the community. "
Their study was published in the journal Monthly Notice of the Royal Astronomical Society.