Now that history has been rewritten and we’ve all seen the very first direct image of a Black Hole located at the center of a galaxy more than 50 million light years away, the question is, just how big is that ‘supermassive black hole’?
The monstrous Black Hole sits in the Messier 87 Galaxy which has a radius of around 60,000 Light Years. This is relatively small as our own galaxy, the Milky Way is just over 100,000light-yearss across.
But despite the fact that both, Messier 87 and the Milky Way have Black Holes at their very center, the black hole’s mass is much different.
In fact, according to the latest calculations, the black hole at the center of M87 has a massive 6.5 billion times our sun, measuring 40 billion kilometers across–or nearly three million times the size of our planet.
This means that the black hole is not just huge, its humongous.
The Black Hole is so mighty, so powerful, it packs unseen amounts of energy that even light lacks the ability to escape its cosmic jaws. In fact, as noted by Science Alert, to have a slight hope of escaping, a photon would require to be around 18,000,000,000 kilometers away from the middle of the Black Hole, or around 122 times the distance between Earth and the Sun.
Any closer, then that, and it ends up devoured by the massive cosmic monster.
And while we know that this black hole is really powerful, and it’s mind-bendingly large, we can’t really put that to scale. That is until Randall Munroe of XKCD has produced just that, an image that shows to scale the M87 Black Hole, compared to our solar system.
So, there you have it, the recently photographed M87 Black Hole, and our little, small and cosmically insignificant solar system compared to the freakish size of a cosmic monster at the center of a distant galaxy.