The bending of light as its path veers around a giant, invisible mass has revealed the presence of one of the biggest black holes yet detected in the Universe.
In a galaxy at the center of a massive cluster named Abell 1201, some 2.7 billion light-years away, lurks a cosmic colossus. Not content with being supermassive, the monster is an ultramassive black hole, clocking in at around 32.7 billion times the mass of the Sun.
The new figure exceeds previous estimates by at least 7 billion solar masses, demonstrating the power of curved light for measuring masses with precision.
“This particular black hole, which is roughly 30 billion times the mass of our Sun, is one of the biggest ever detected and on the upper limit of how large we believe black holes can theoretically become, so it is an extremely exciting discovery,” explains physicist James Nightingale of Durham