Scientists Discover Black Hole 55,000 Times Bigger Than the Sun

The universe is so vast, it's impossible to know everything about it. In fact, scientists discover [...]

The universe is so vast, it's impossible to know everything about it. In fact, scientists discover new things about space on a daily basis and even then, we know just a fraction of what's out there. Case in point, a new scientific study published Monday unearthed the finding of a supermassive black hole nearly 55,000 times the size of the sun. Researchers for the University of Melbourne and Monash University published a joint study in Nature Astronomy detailing the discovery.

The journal entry details the finding of a "Goldilocks black hole," only the second of its kind. It's technically classified as an intermediate-mass black hole, and scientists hope its size will help provide answers as to the connection between the two types of black holes.

"While we know that these supermassive black holes lurk in the cores of most, if not all galaxies, we don't understand how these behemoths are able to grow so large within the age of the Universe," study lead author James Paynter said in the report. Paynter is a PhD student at the University of Melbourne.

According to study co-author Eric Thran, the newly discovered black hole could be as old as time itself. "This newly discovered black hole could be an ancient relic—a primordial black hole—created in the early Universe before the first stars and galaxies formed," Thran added.

What's a discovery like this do, exactly? Those participating in the study hope it can serve as the connective tissue between black holes that are made from collapsing stars, and even bigger black holes that find themselves smack dab in the middle of galaxies. Because of its age, it's the hope of the scientists that further observation will reveal exactly how black holes are formed in the first place.

"These early black holes may be the seeds of the supermassive black holes that live in the hearts of galaxies today," study co-author and University of Melbourne professor Rachel Webster added. "Using this new black hole candidate, we can estimate the total number of these objects in the Universe. We predicted that this might be possible 30 years ago, and it is exciting to have discovered a strong example."