The Weirdest Black Hole Ever Found Is Growing So Fast It Defies the Laws of Physics
Everything that we think we knew about the growth of black holes has just been flipped on its head—scientists have discovered a massive anomaly out in space that is defying the laws of physics as we know it.
It had previously been believed that black holes at the center of galaxies grow in tandem with the star clusters around them—as a galaxy expands, the black hole will grow as well, feeding on the matter and information that it absorbs. Thus far, every supermassive black hole we've found has existed within an appropriately sized galaxy—the bigger the black hole, the bigger the galaxy around it.
As it turns out, this isn't always the case. The WISE1029+0501 is a modestly sized galaxy which, based on previous assumptions, should play host to a small-ish black hole. Not so; the supermassive black hole at its center is instead far larger than the galaxy ought to be able to support.
According to Tohru Nagao, Professor at Ehime University, this new information is a big deal that changes the way we view black holes:
This new discovery was made bycatalogingg the amount of carbon monoxide that was floating around the WISE1029+0501 using the ALMA radio telescope. Carbon monoxide is present at the formation of stars, and the levels of the gas that are found in a particular galaxy helps to determine how large the galaxy is, and how quickly it's expanding.
WISE1029+0501 doesn't have a lot of carbon monoxide, and certainly doesn't have enough to justify the size of the black hole at its center.
This kind of thing has been happening a lot lately, and it's very exciting. Our understanding of black holes, as well as many other large celestial events, has been shaped by a very small pool of knowledge, alongside a lot of theorizing and, let's face it, rampant speculation.
When we discover an anomaly that doesn't match up with the rest of our data thus far, it's an indicator that there's more going on than we'd previously realized. Our ability to observe the universe has grown tremendously over the past few years, which is why we're bumping into knowledge gaps this often. Essentially, we're now finally beginning to realize just how ignorant we are, which is a natural first step to being able to correcting course and figuring out what's really going on with black holes.
Now, scientists will have to reconsider the cause of growth in black holes. If these gravity drains don't grow in size relative to the amount of food that they're consuming, there must be something else that's triggering their development.
Whatever the secret might be, it's going to be very interesting as scientists try to figure out what's going on.