"Astronomers have uncovered a near-record breaking supermassive black hole, weighing 17 billion suns, in an unlikely place: in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area of the universe. The observations, made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii, may indicate that these monster objects may be more common than once thought."
--from "Behemoth Black Hole Found in an Unlikely Place."
So, 17 billion times the mass of our sun is a lot of kilograms.
I tried to do a little bit of math (I AM NOT A SCIENTIST, A MATHEMATICIAN, OR EVEN ABLE TO MULTIPLY TWO-DIGIT NUMBERS BY HAND SO CHILL OUT IF I MAKE A MISTAKE) to work out how close you could get before getting trapped. It's really scary. The limit is called the event horizon--go past that invisible line and you are the most fucked it is possible to be. The official scientific term is "spaghettification."
I googled around and found an equation to calculate the radius around a black hole below which you have to go faster than light to escape (event horizon, aka: "Schwarzchild radius").
It's actually way simpler than I expected:
r = 2MG/c²
r is the "Schwarzchild radius."
M is the mass of the black hole.
G is a fixed number that has to be used for science reasons.
c is the speed of light.
Oh, by the way, the Sun (according to Google--I didn't measure it myself) has a mass of:
This black hole has a mass of THAT, times 17,000,000,000.
Which works out to:
For comparison, I weigh about 65kg.
Plug that really big number into the top part of the equation, double it, and multiply it again by the special G number, then divide all that by the speed of light (times itself), and you get--you guessed it--another really, big number. But not QUITE as big:
5,018,500,000,000 meters. I looked up the metric prefix for that and it's "tera-," as in "Five terameters." Like "terabyte," for computers. It's a trillion of something.
Five trillion meters. Or, five thousand billion meters. That's the radius of the sphere of don't-go-there around this black hole. If you remember from math class, a "radius" is half the diameter. Our *entire solar system* has a radius of:
Put another way:
Diameter of our solar system: nine billion kilometers.
Diameter of the sphere of space and time that this black hole has cut off from the rest of the universe forever: ten billion kilometers.
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