Mass of a huge supermassive black hole calculated with precision by astronomers

What happens in a black hole? It is not yet known whether the theories are different. For the moment we have to settle for studying what happens in the “sphere of influence” of a black hole, ie the inner region closest to the “edge” of the black hole itself which is not part of the event horizon, that area beyond the which also the light can no longer leave.

A group of scholars is going to use this with the Aracama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study this specific region of influence of the supermassive black hole located in the center of the galaxy NGC 3258. The latter is an elliptical galaxy that is located at a distance of about 100 million light-years from us.

The researchers determined the “weight” of the supermassive black hole: 2.25 billion solar masses. This is the most massive black hole measured with ALMA and one of the most massive but identified.

Researchers have shown that with this telescope it is possible to “map the rotation of gaseous discs around supermassive black holes with extraordinary details,” as reported by Benjamin Boizelle, a researcher at Texas A&M University as well as the principal author of the study published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Thanks to these “extraordinary details,” they calculated the weight of the black hole with a precision of better than 1%, a measurement that is considered as one of the most precise black hole mass measurements ever made for a black hole beyond outside the Milky Way.

The same data also shows that the speed of rotation of the disk around the black hole ranges from one million miles per hour in the outer edge, located at a distance of about 500 light-years from the black hole, up to three million miles per hour in the most central regions, at a distance of just 65 light-years from the black hole.

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