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List of most massive black holes

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An artist's impression of a supermassive black hole devouring matter from an accretion disc

This is an ordered list of the most massive black holes so far discovered (and probable candidates), measured in units of solar masses (M), or the mass of the Sun (approx. 2×1030 kilograms).


A supermassive black hole (SMBH) is the largest type of black hole, on the order of hundreds of thousands to billions of solar masses (M), and is theorized to exist in the center of almost all massive galaxies. Unambiguous dynamical evidence for SMBHs exists only in a handful of galaxies;[1] these include the Milky Way, the Local Group galaxies M31 and M32, and a few galaxies beyond the Local Group, e.g. NGC 4395. In these galaxies, the mean square (or root mean square) velocities of the stars or gas rises as ~1/r near the center, indicating a central point mass. In all other galaxies observed to date, the rms velocities are flat, or even falling, toward the center, making it impossible to state with certainty that a supermassive black hole is present.[1] Nevertheless, it is commonly accepted that the center of nearly every galaxy contains a supermassive black hole.[2] The reason for this assumption is the M-sigma relation, a tight (low scatter) relation between the mass of the hole in the ~10 galaxies with secure detections, and the velocity dispersion of the stars in the bulges of those galaxies.[3] This correlation, although based on just a handful of galaxies, suggests to many astronomers a strong connection between the formation of the black hole and the galaxy itself.[2]

Although SMBHs are currently theorized to exist in almost all massive galaxies, more massive black holes are rare; with only fewer than several dozen having been discovered to date. There is extreme difficulty in determining a mass of a particular SMBH, and so they still remain in the field of open research. SMBHs with accurate masses are limited only to galaxies within the Laniakea Supercluster and to active galactic nuclei.

Another problem for this list is the method used in determining the mass. Such methods, such as broad emission-line reverberation mapping (BLRM), Doppler measurements, velocity dispersion, and the M-sigma relation have not yet been well established. Most of the time, the masses derived from the given methods contradict each other's values.

This list contains supermassive black holes with known masses, determined at least to the order of magnitude. Some objects in this list have two citations, like 3C 273; one from Bradley M. Peterson et al. using the BLRM method,[4] and the other from Charles Nelson using [OIII]λ5007 value and velocity dispersion.[5] Note that this list is very far from complete, as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) alone detected 200000 quasars, which likely may be the homes of billion-solar-mass black holes. In addition, there are several hundred citations for black hole measurements not yet included on this list. Despite this, the majority of well-known black holes above 1 billion M are shown. Messier galaxies with precisely known black holes are all included.


Listed black holes here have issues of measurement accuracies and more importantly the mass estimates are based on different kinds of evaluation methods which are all affected by their own individual systematics.

List of most massive black holes
Name Solar mass
(Sun = 1)
TON 618 6.6×1010[6] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
Holmberg 15A (4.0±0.8)×1010[7] Mass specified obtained through orbit-based, axisymmetric Schwarzschild models. Earlier estimates range from ~310 billion M down to 3 billion M, all relying on empirical scaling relations and are thus obtained from extrapolation and not from kinematical measurements.[8]
IC 1101 (4–10)×1010[9] Estimated from properties of the host galaxy; mass has not been measured directly.
S5 0014+81 4×1010[10][11][12] A 2010 paper suggested that a funnel collimates the radiation around the jet axis, creating an optical illusion of very high brightness, and thus a possible overestimation of the black hole mass.[10]
SDSS J102325.31+514251.0 (3.31±0.61)×1010[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
H1821+643 3×1010[14] Nearest galaxy cluster harboring a quasar in its core.[14]
NGC 6166 3×1010[15]
APM 08279+5255 2.3×1010[16]
Based on velocity width of CO line from orbiting molecular gas,[16] and reverberation mapping using SiIV and CIV emission lines.[17]
NGC 4889 (2.1±1.6)×1010[18][19] Best fit: the estimate ranges from 6 billion to 37 billion M.[18][19]
Central black hole of Phoenix Cluster 2×1010[20] This black hole is continuously growing at the rate of ~60 M per year.
SDSS J074521.78+734336.1 (1.95±0.05)×1010[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
OJ 287 primary 1.8×1010[21] A smaller 100 million M black hole orbits this one in a 12-year period (see OJ 287 secondary below). But this measurement is in question due to the limited number and precision of observed companion orbits.
NGC 1600 (1.7±0.15)×1010[22][23] Unprecedentedly massive in relation of its location: an elliptical galaxy host in a sparse environment.
SDSS J08019.69+373047.3 (1.51±0.31)×1010[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
SDSS J115954.33+201921.1 (1.41±0.10)×1010[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
SDSS J075303.34+423130.8 (1.38±0.03)×1010[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
SDSS J080430.56+542041.1 (1.35±0.22)×1010[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
Abell 1201 BCG (1.3±0.6)×1010[24] Estimated from the strong gravitational lensing of a background galaxy behind the BCG.[24] Beware of ambiguity between the BH mass determination and the galaxy cluster's dark matter profile.[25]
SDSS J0100+2802 (1.24±0.19)×1010[26][27] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation. This object grew early in cosmic history (redshift 6.30).
SDSS J081855.77+095848.0 (1.20±0.06)×1010[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
NGC 1270 1.2×1010[28] Elliptical galaxy located in the Perseus Cluster. Also is a low-luminosity AGN (LLAGN).[29]
SDSS J082535.19+512706.3 (1.12±0.20)×1010[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line
SDSS J013127.34-032100.1 (1.1±0.2)×1010[30] Estimated from accretion disk spectrum modelling.[30]
PSO J334.2028+01.4075 1×1010[31] There are actually two black holes, orbiting at each other in a close pair with a 542-day period. The largest one is quoted, while the smaller one's mass is not defined.[31]
Black hole of central elliptical galaxy of RX J1532.9+3021 1×1010[32]
QSO B2126-158 1×1010[10]
NGC 1281 1×1010[33] Compact elliptical galaxy in the Perseus Cluster. Mass estimates range from 10 billion M down to <5 billion M.[34]
SDSS J015741.57-010629.6 (9.8±1.4)×109[13]
NGC 3842 9.7+3.0
Brightest galaxy in the Leo Cluster
SDSS J230301.45-093930.7 (9.12±0.88)×109[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
SDSS J075819.70+202300.9 (7.8±3.9)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
CID-947 6.9+0.8
Constitutes 10% of the total mass of its host galaxy. Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
SDSS J080956.02+502000.9 (6.46±0.45)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
SDSS J014214.75+002324.2 (6.31±1.16)×109[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
Messier 87 "Powehi"[36] 7.22+0.34
Central galaxy of the Virgo Cluster; the first black hole directly imaged.
NGC 5419 7.2+2.7
Estimated from the stellar velocity distribution. A secondary satellite SMBH may orbit around 70 parsecs.[39]
SDSS J025905.63+001121.9 (5.25±0.73)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
SDSS J094202.04+042244.5 (5.13±0.71)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
QSO B0746+254 5×109[10]
QSO B2149-306 5×109[10]
SDSS J090033.50+421547.0 (4.7±0.2)×109[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
Messier 60 (4.5±1.0)×109[40]
SDSS J011521.20+152453.3 (4.1±2.4)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
QSO B0222+185 4×109[10]
Hercules A (3C 348) 4×109 Notable for its million light-year long relativistic jet.
Abell 1836-BCG 3.61+0.41
SDSS J213023.61+122252.0 (3.5±0.2)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
SDSS J173352.23+540030.4 (3.4±0.4)×109[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
SDSS J025021.76-075749.9 (3.1±0.6)×109[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
NGC 1271 3.0+1.0
Compact elliptical or lenticular galaxy in the Perseus Cluster.[43]
SDSS J030341.04-002321.9 (3.0±0.4)×109[13] Estimated from quasar MgII emission line correlation.
QSO B0836+710 3×109[10]
SDSS J224956.08+000218.0 (2.63±1.21)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
SDSS J030449.85-000813.4 (2.4±0.50)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
SDSS J234625.66-001600.4 (2.24±0.15)×109[13] Estimated from quasar Hβ emission line correlation.
ULAS J1120+0641 2×109[44][45] Also, currently on record as the second most distant quasar, at z=7.085[44]
QSO 0537-286 2×109[10]
NGC 3115 2×109[46]
Q0906+6930 2×109[47] Most distant blazar, at z = 5.47
QSO B0805+614 1.5×109[10]
Messier 84 1.5×109[48]
Abell 3565-BCG 1.34+0.21
NGC 7768 1.3+0.5
NGC 1277 1.2×109[49] Once thought to harbor a black hole so large that it contradicted modern galaxy formation and evolutionary theories,[50] re-analysis of the data revised it downward to roughly a third of the original estimate.,[51] and then one tenth.[49]
Black hole of central elliptical galaxy of MS 0735.6+7421 1×109[52][53][54] Produced a colossal AGN outburst after accreting 600 million M worth of material. BH mass not explicitly stated; just a lower limit. Requires assumptions about the efficiencies of gas accretion and jet power.[52][53][54]
QSO B225155+2217 1×109[10]
QSO B1210+330 1×109[10]
NGC 6166 1×109[55] Central galaxy of Abell 2199; notable for its hundred thousand light year long relativistic jet.
Cygnus A 1×109[56] Brightest extrasolar radio source in the sky as seen at frequencies above 1 GHz
Sombrero Galaxy 1×109[57] Bolometrically most luminous galaxy in the local universe and also the nearest billion-solar-mass black hole to Earth.
Markarian 501 9×1083.4×109[58] Brightest object in the sky in very high energy gamma rays.
PG 1426+015 (1.298±0.385)×109[4]
3C 273 (8.86±1.87)×108[4]
Brightest quasar in the sky
ULAS J1342+0928 8×108[59] Most distant quasar[59] − currently on record as the most distant quasar at z=7.54[59]
Messier 49 5.6×108[60]
NGC 1399 5×108[61] Central galaxy of the Fornax Cluster
PG 0804+761 (6.93±0.83)×108[4]
PG 1617+175 (5.94±1.38)×108[4]
PG 1700+518 7.81+1.82
NGC 4261 4×108[62] Notable for its 88000 light-year long relativistic jet.[63]
PG 1307+085 (4.4±1.23)×108[4]
281 840 000[5]
SAGE0536AGN (3.5±0.8)×108[64][65] Constitutes 1.4% of the mass of its host galaxy
NGC 1275 3.4×108[66][67] Central galaxy of the Perseus Cluster
3C 390.3 (2.87±0.64)×108[4]
II Zwicky 136 (4.57±0.55)×108[4]
PG 0052+251 (3.69±0.76)×108[4]
Messier 59 2.7×108[68] This black hole has a retrograde rotation.[69]
PG 1411+442 (4.43±1.46)×108[4]
Markarian 876 (2.79±1.29)×108[4]
Andromeda Galaxy 2.3×108 Nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way
PG 0953+414 (2.76±0.59)×108[4]
PG 0026+129 (3.93±0.96)×108[4]
Fairall 9 (2.55±0.56)×108[4]
Markarian 1095 (1.5±0.19)×108[4]
Messier 105 1.4×1082×108[70]
Markarian 509 (1.43±0.12)×108[4]
OJ 287 secondary 1×108[21] The smaller black hole orbiting OJ 287 primary (see above).
RX J124236.9-111935 1×108[71] Observed by the Chandra X-ray Observatory to be tidally disrupting a star.[71][72]
Messier 85 1×108[73]
NGC 5548 (6.71±0.26)×107[4]
PG 1211+143 (1.46±0.44)×108[4]
Messier 88 8×107[74]
Messier 81 (Bode's Galaxy) 7×107[75]
Markarian 771 (7.32±3.52)×107[4]
Messier 58 7×107[76]
PG 0844+349 (9.24±3.81)×107[4]
Centaurus A 5.5×107[77] Also notable for its million light-year long relativistic jet.[78]
Markarian 79 (5.24±1.44)×107[4]
Messier 96 48000000[79] Estimates can be as low as 1.5 million solar masses
Markarian 817 (4.94±0.77)×107[4]
NGC 3227 (4.22±2.14)×107[4]
NGC 4151 primary 4×107[80][81]
3C 120 5.55+3.14
Markarian 279 (3.49±0.92)×107[4]
NGC 3516 (4.27±1.46)×107[4]
NGC 863 (4.75±0.74)×107[4]
Messier 82 (Cigar Galaxy) 3×107[82] Prototype starburst galaxy.[83]
Messier 108 2.4×107[84]
M60-UCD1 2×107[85] Constitutes 15% of the mass of its host galaxy.
NGC 3783 (2.98±0.54)×107[4]
Markarian 110 (2.51±0.61)×107[4]
Markarian 335 (1.42±0.37)×107[4]
NGC 4151 secondary 10000000[81]
NGC 7469 (12.2±1.4)×106[4]
IC 4329 A 9.90+17.88
NGC 4593 5.36+9.37
Messier 61 5×106[86]
Messier 32 1.5×1065×106[87] A dwarf satellite galaxy of the Andromeda Galaxy.
Sagittarius A* 4.3×106[88] The black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

See also


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