What is Supermassive black hole: Definition and 21 Discussions

A supermassive black hole (SMBH or sometimes SBH) is the largest type of black hole, with mass on the order of millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun (M☉). Black holes are a class of astronomical objects that have undergone gravitational collapse, leaving behind spheroidal regions of space from which nothing can escape, not even light. Observational evidence indicates that almost every large galaxy has a supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center. The Milky Way has a supermassive black hole in its Galactic Center, which corresponds to the location of Sagittarius A*. Accretion of interstellar gas onto supermassive black holes is the process responsible for powering active galactic nuclei and quasars.

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  1. jedishrfu

    B How black hole Sgr-A* Was Found

  2. T

    I Runaway supermassive black hole?

    There seems evidence for a runaway supermassive black hole. https://phys.org/news/2023-04-strange-streak-young-stars-evidence.html
  3. D

    Supermassive black hole in the Large Magellanic Cloud?

    Ok, I know, it's science fiction, you can make anything work if you really want it to. I'm planning out a sci-fi story which I wanted to try and keep as grounded as possible in believable scientific concepts. For context, the basic premise is: humanity detects a wormhole on the outer edge of the...
  4. MJM

    I When exactly did 'quantum fluctuations' in the early universe occur?

    I came across this video today: Which summarizes this new paper from University of Tokyo: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1907.02273.pdf I get that the video is just an explainer for primordial black holes, but I was hoping to get a better explanation on exactly when conventional wisdom says density...
  5. Auto-Didact

    A Unveiling the Structure of Sagittarius A*: First VLBI Image at 86 GHz with ALMA

    Issaoun et al. 2019, The Size, Shape, and Scattering of Sagittarius A* at 86 GHz: First VLBI with ALMA The image wasn't in the paper, nor is this an image from the Event Horizon Telescope, as I expected it would be. In either case, the image (courtesy of phys.org) can be seen here:
  6. Joshua Guyette

    I Supermassive black hole eating a stellar black hole

    I'm trying to visualize what a fast spinning supermassive black hole slowly eating a stellar black hole should "look" like; how would the mass flow between the two? Could enough mass be removed from the stellar black hole, that it loses it's event horizon before entering the supermassive black...
  7. The Bill

    B Simulation of a neutron star's impact on a supermassive black hole?

    Please forgive the awkward title. "Supermassive black hole" uses up a lot of the title character limit. Has anyone made a simulation of what would happen if a neutron star impacted a simplified (Schwarzschild) supermassive black hole? I've seen simulations of a neutron star colliding with a...
  8. stevebd1

    Insights Calculating the Spin of Black Hole Sagittarius A* - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Calculating the Spin of Black Hole Sagittarius A* Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  9. C

    B General Relativity Aces a Test at Supermassive Black Hole

    General relativity passes test at Milky Way’s central black hole by Ken Croswell For the first time, astronomers use stars orbiting a supermassive black hole to test Einstein's general theory of relativity, finding no sign of a fifth fundamental force. Links: John Batchelor Show...
  10. Chronos

    Supermassive black hole evolution

    This paper; http://arxiv.org/abs/1601.05473, The Early Growth of the First Black Holes discusses the evolution of supermassive massive black holes [SMBH] as inferred from observations of high z quasars: which has provoked questions about the putatitve age of the universe and the time it allows...
  11. newjerseyrunner

    Would a supermassive black hole explode?

    I was thinking today about black holes. I was imagining how they formed a singularity, not mathematically, but physically and I got stuck at the Planck density. It's not a singularity yet and even with the entire weight of the rest of the object on top of it, you shouldn't be able to pack more...
  12. S

    Entire universe ending with a supermassive black hole?

    Black holes grow by absorbing matter, which includes galaxies and black holes. Would the growth of black holes overtake the expansion of space time and collapse the entire universe?
  13. EinsteinKreuz

    Exploring Sagittarius A*: Supermassive Black Hole Evidence

    So I have a question about Sagittarius A*, which more and more astrophysicists are certain is a supermassive Black Hole. But now for the evidence part: 1. An alternative model for this object was proposed http://journalofcosmology.com/RobetsonLeiter.pdf published 4 years ago. So is there any...
  14. Ookke

    What if Earth crossed the event horizon of a supermassive black hole

    From previous threads I have understood that crossing the event horizon of a supermassive black hole is nothing very unusual for the falling observer locally. Usually in these considerations the falling observer has been thought as a "point" without much dimension. How about if Earth (and...
  15. chemisttree

    Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole to Light Up in 2013?

    As far as I know, the only evidence of a supermassive black hole (SMBH) at the center of our Milky Way has been it's gravitational effect on stars that zip around near the center of our galaxy and a radio signature. That's about to change in 2013 when a stream of ionized dust and gas begin it's...
  16. O

    Exploring the Hollow of a Supermassive Black Hole

    I read recently about supermassive black holes and how they might even have a density close to that of water! Far out. It got me thinking about the structures of black holes. Would someone be able to survive, "swimming" in the center of such a body. Of course they'd be crushed but it got me...
  17. V

    Calculating The Event Horizon of a Supermassive Black Hole

    Ok, let's say we wanted to know the diameter of the largest black hole. (Its event horizon) Let's say the universe had contracted and all the galaxies had been consumed by black holes and all merged into one single massive hole. Say there were approximately 100 billion galaxies, all...
  18. N

    Closer to the Monster - supermassive black hole

    The ESO today http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2004/pr-10-04.html results of observations made of the nucleus of NGC1068 (also known as M77). "They show a configuration of comparatively warm dust (about 50°C) measuring 11 light-years across and 7 light-years thick, with an inner...
  19. Ivan Seeking

    Supermassive Black Hole Sings for Its Supper: Scientific American