New York: Challenging previous notions about the way host galaxies grow in relation to black holes, an international team of astronomers has spotted a super-sized black hole that grew much faster than its host galaxy.
The discovery runs counter to most observations about black holes as in most cases black holes and their host galaxies expand at the same rate.
Black holes are massive areas of space with extraordinarily strong gravity that can pull in anything -- even light.
This particular black hole that the astronomers detailed in the journal Science formed in the early universe, roughly two billion years after the Big Bang.
Located in the galaxy CID-947, this black hole is among the most massive black holes ever found. It measures nearly seven billion solar masses (a solar mass is equivalent to the mass of our Sun), the study noted.
“It was quite a shock to see such a ginormous black hole in such a deep field," said study co-author C. Megan Urry, professor at Yale University in the US.
However, it was the mass of the surrounding galaxy that most surprised the research team.
"The measurements correspond to the mass of a typical galaxy," lead author Benny Trakhtenbrot, researcher at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, said.
"We therefore have a gigantic black hole within a normal-size galaxy," Trakhtenbrot noted.
Most galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have a black hole at their centre, holding millions to billions of solar masses.
Urry and her colleagues credited the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Chandra COSMOS legacy survey in aiding the team's work.