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 found 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 less than a few dozen have 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 all black holes with known masses. 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 SDSS alone detected 200000 quasars, which may be likely 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)
S5 0014+81 40000000000[6][7][8] 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.[6]
SDSS J102325.31+514251.0 33100000000[9]
Black hole of central quasar of H1821+643 30000000000[10] Nearest galaxy cluster harboring a quasar in its core.[10]
APM 08279+5255 23000000000
NGC 4889 21000000000[11] Best fit: the estimate ranges from 6 billion to 37 billion M.[11]
Black hole of central elliptical galaxy of Phoenix Cluster 20000000000[12] This black hole is continuously growing at the rate of ~60 M per year.
SDSS J074521.78+734336.1 19500000000[9]
OJ 287 primary 18000000000[13] 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 17000000000[14] Unprecedentedly massive in relation of its environment, being located in an elliptical galaxy in a small population environment.
SDSS J08019.69+373047.3 15140000000[9]
SDSS J115954.33+201921.1 14120000000[9]
SDSS J075303.34+423130.8 13800000000[9]
SDSS J080430.56+542041.1 13500000000[9]
SDSS J081855.77+095848.0 12000000000[9]
SDSS J0100+2802 12000000000[15][16]
SDSS J082535.19+512706.3 11220000000[9]
SDSS J013127.34-032100.1 11000000000[17]
Black hole of central elliptical galaxy of MS 0735.6+7421 10000000000[18] Produced a colossal AGN outburst after accreting 600 million M worth of material.[18]
PSO J334.2028+01.4075 10000000000[19] 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.[19]
Black hole of central elliptical galaxy of RX J1532.9+3021 10000000000[20]
QSO B2126-158 10000000000[6]
Holmberg 15A 10000000000[21] Mass estimates range from ~310 billion M down to 3 billion M. They all rely on empirical scaling relations and are thus obtained from extrapolation and not from kinematical measurements.
SDSS J015741.57-010629.6 9800000000[9]
NGC 3842 9700000000[11] Brightest galaxy in the Leo Cluster
SDSS J230301.45-093930.7 9120000000[9]
SDSS J075819.70+202300.9 7800000000[9]
CID-947 7000000000[22] Constitutes 10% of the total mass of its host galaxy
SDSS J080956.02+502000.9 6450000000[9]
SDSS J014214.75+002324.2 6310000000[9]
Messier 87 6300000000[23] Central galaxy of the Virgo Cluster; notable for its 4,300 light-year long relativistic jet.
SDSS J025905.63+001121.9 5250000000[9]
SDSS J094202.04+042244.5 5130000000[9]
QSO B0746+254 5000000000[6]
QSO B2149-306 5000000000[6]
NGC 1277 5000000000[24] Once thought to harbor a black hole so large that it contradicted modern galaxy formation and evolutionary theories,[25] re-analysis of the data revised it downward to roughly a third of the original estimate.[24]
SDSS J090033.50+421547.0 4700000000[9]
Messier 60 4500000000[26]
SDSS J011521.20+152453.3 4100000000[9]
QSO B0222+185 4000000000[6]
Hercules A (3C 348) 4000000000 Notable for its million light-year long relativistic jet.
SDSS J213023.61+122252.0 3500000000[9]
SDSS J173352.23+540030.4 3400000000[9]
SDSS J025021.76-075749.9 3100000000[9]
SDSS J030341.04-002321.9 3000000000[9]
QSO B0836+710 3000000000[6]
SDSS J224956.08+000218.0 2630000000[9]
SDSS J030449.85-000813.4 2400000000[9]
SDSS J234625.66-001600.4 2240000000[9]
ULAS J1120+0641 2000000000[27][28] Also, currently on record as the most distant quasar, at z=7.085[27]
QSO 0537-286 2000000000[6]
NGC 3115 2000000000[29]
Q0906+6930 2000000000[30] Most distant blazar, at z = 5.47
QSO B0805+614 1500000000[6]
Messier 84 1500000000[31]
QSO B225155+2217 1000000000[6]
QSO B1210+330 1000000000[6]
NGC 6166 1000000000[32] Central galaxy of Abell 2199; notable for its hundred thousand light year long relativistic jet.
Cygnus A 1000000000[33] Brightest extrasolar radio source in the sky ad seen at frequencies above 1 GHz
Sombrero Galaxy 1000000000[34] Bolometrically most luminous galaxy in the local universe and also the nearest billion-solar-mass black hole to Earth.
Markarian 501 9000000003400000000[35] 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
Messier 49 560000000[36]
NGC 1399 500000000[37] 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 400000000[38] Notable for its 88000 light-year long relativistic jet.[39]
PG 1307+085 (4.4±1.23)×108[4]
281 840 000[5]
SAGE0536AGN 350000000[40] Constitutes 1.4% of the mass of its host galaxy
NGC 1275 340000000[41][42] 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 270000000[43] This black hole has a retrograde rotation.[44]
PG 1411+442 (4.43±1.46)×108[4]
Markarian 876 (2.79±1.29)×108[4]
Andromeda Galaxy 230000000 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 140000000200000000[45]
Markarian 509 (1.43±0.12)×108[4]
OJ 287 secondary 100000000[13] The smaller black hole orbiting OJ 287 primary (see above).
RX J124236.9-111935 100000000[46] Observed by the Chandra X-ray Observatory to be tidally disrupting a star.[46][47]
Messier 85 100000000[48]
NGC 5548 (6.71±0.26)×107[4]
PG 1221+143 (1.46±0.44)×108[4]
Messier 88 80000000[49]
Messier 81 (Bode's Galaxy) 70,000,000[50]
Markarian 771 (7.32±3.52)×107[4]
Messier 58 70000000[51]
PG 0844+349 (9.24±3.81)×107[4]
Centaurus A 55000000[52] Also notable for its million light-year long relativistic jet.[53]
Markarian 79 (5.24±1.44)×107[4]
Messier 96 48000000[54] 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 40000000[55][56]
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) 30000000[57] Prototype starburst galaxy.[58]
Messier 108 24000000[59]
M60-UCD1 20000000[60] 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[56]
NGC 7469 (12.2±1.4)×106[4]
IC 4329 A 9.90+17.88
NGC 4593 5.36+9.37
Messier 61 5000000[61]
Messier 32 15000005000000[62] A dwarf satellite galaxy of the Andromeda Galaxy.
Sagittarius A* 4300000[63] The black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

See also[edit]


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