Astronomers calculate the black hole at the center of galaxy M87 is 6.6 billion solar masses.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Weighing 6.6 billion solar masses, the black hole at the center of galaxy M87 is the most massive black hole for which a precise mass has been measured. Using the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, a team of astronomers calculated the black hole’s mass, which is vastly larger than the black hole in the center of the Milky Way, which is about 4 million solar masses.
Astronomer Karl Gebhardt of the University of Texas, Austin, presented the results of the team’s research on Wednesday, January 12, at the 217th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. He said that the black hole’s event horizon, which is 20 billion km across, is four times larger than Neptune’s orbit and three times larger than Pluto’s orbit. In other words, the black hole “could swallow our solar system whole.”