List of most massive black holes

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An artist's impression of a black hole in front of the Large Magellanic Cloud

This is a list of the largest known black holes by mass. The unit of measurement used is the solar mass (M), or the mass of the Sun (approx. 2×1030 kilograms).

All black holes in this list are classified as supermassive, with masses from a few million to several billion M.

The order of this list is speculative:

  • There are wildly varying ranges in mass estimates of some black holes, due to unknown speed and rotation of their event horizons, giving estimates in a wide range. Such an example is the black hole in NGC 4889, which can be as low as 6 billion M or can be as large as 37 billion M.
  • Most black holes are occluded by matter from their host galaxies, making the estimates of their mass not clearly defined.
  • The M-sigma relation can only be estimated by observing orbiting bodies, however, due to their distances, such estimates are often quite doubtful.
  • The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has surveyed some supermassive black holes in distant galaxies and 10 of them are found to be larger than the 1 billion M cutoff point at this table, with the largest of around 17 billion M.[1]

List[edit]

List of the largest black holes
Black hole name Solar mass
(Sun = 1)
Notes
S5 0014+813 40,000,000,000[2][3] Methods of estimating the mass of this black hole is poorly detailed due to the broad long wavelength emission lines and the extreme luminosity of the quasar.
SDSS J085543.40-001517.7 25,000,000,000 Estimate ranges from 14 to 39 billion M
APM 08279+5255 23,000,000,000[4]
NGC 4889 21,000,000,000[5] Best fit: the estimate ranges from 6 billion to 37 billion M.[5]
Central black hole of Phoenix Cluster 20,000,000,000[6] This black hole is continuously growing at the rate of 60 M per year.
OJ 287 primary 18,000,000,000[7] A smaller 100 million M black hole orbits this black hole in a 12 year period.
Central black hole of MS 0735.6+7421 10,000,000,000 Produced a colossal AGN outburst after accreting 600 million M worth of material.
Central black hole of RX J1532.9+3021 10,000,000,000
NGC 3842 9,700,000,000[5] Brightest galaxy in the Leo Cluster
Messier 87 6,300,000,000[8] Central galaxy of the Virgo Cluster; notable for its 4,300 light-year long relativistic jet.
NGC 1277 5,000,000,000[9] Once thought to harbor a black hole so large that it contradicted modern galaxy formation and evolutionary theories,[10] re-analysis of the data revised it downward to roughly a third of the original estimate.[9]
Messier 60 4,500,000,000[11]
Hercules A (3C 348) 4,000,000,000 Notable for its million light-year long relativistic jet.
ULAS J1120+0641 2,000,000,000[12][13] Also on record as the most distant quasar known, at z=7.085[12]
NGC 3115 2,000,000,000[14] Also the nearest known billion solar mass black hole, at 32 million light-years away.
Q0906+6930 2,000,000,000[15] Most distant known blazar, at z = 5.47
Messier 84 1,500,000,000[16]
The following well-known black holes are listed for the purpose of comparison
Sombrero Galaxy 1,000,000,000[17]
Markarian 501 900,000,000-3,400,000,000[18] Brightest object in the sky in very high energy gamma rays.
Messier 49 560,000,000[19]
NGC 1275 340,000,000[20] Central galaxy of the Perseus Cluster
Andromeda Galaxy 230,000,000
Messier 105 140,000,000-200,000,000[21]
Messier 85 100,000,000[22]
Messier 81 (Bode's Galaxy) 70,000,000[23]
Centaurus A 55,000,000[24] Also notable for its million light-year long relativistic jet.[25]
Messier 82 (Cigar Galaxy) 30,000,000[26] Prototype starburst galaxy.[27]
Messier 108 24,000,000[28]
Messier 61 5,000,000[29]
Messier 32 1,500,000-5,000,000 A dwarf satellite galaxy of the Andromeda Galaxy.
Sagittarius A* 4,100,000[30] The black hole at the Milky Way's center.

References[edit]

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  25. ^ "Astronomy Picture of the Day – Centaurus Radio Jets Rising". NASA. 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2011-04-16. 
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  30. ^ Ghez et al. 2008