Black holes can get big … really big. But just how big? It’s possible they could top out at over a trillion times more massive than the sun. That’s 10 times bigger than the largest known black hole so far.
But could these monsters truly exist in our universe? A team of researchers has come up with a plan to go hunting for them. And if they exist, they could help us solve the mysteries of how the first stars appeared in the cosmos.
If you want to go shopping for black holes in the universe, unfortunately you only have two basic sizes: kind of small and gigantic. You know that frustrating feeling you get when the online store is out of your size of that amazing shirt? Welcome to the life of the black hole hunter.
Small black holes, or stellar-mass black holes, are more massive than our sun, but not by that much. Because black holes are born from the deaths of massive stars in the final stages of a titanic supernova explosion, and massive stars have to be so big in order to go full supernova, the smallest black holes are around five times more massive than our sun.