A supermassive black hole is basically the largest type of black hole, containing a mass of the order of hundreds of thousands, to billions times, the mass of the Sun. There are two theories that attempt to explain the formation of supermassive black holes: the first being that the seeds grow from black holes with a mass about 10-100 times greater than the sun and continue growing through mergers with other small black holes: the second being that extremely large black hole seeds with 100,000 times the mass of the sun formed directly when a massive cloud of gas collapses. However, neither theory explains how supermassive black holes can start growing unexpectedly for extended periods, until now. Tel Aviv University researchers published today in Nature Astronomy finds that some of these supermassive black holes are triggered by suddenly devouring a large amount of gas in their surroundings. Read more for another video and additional information.
“In February 2017, the All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae discovered an event known as AT 2017bgt. This event was initially believed to be a ‘star swallowing’ event, or a ‘tidal disruption’ event, because the radiation emitted around the black hole grew more than 50 times brighter than what had been observed in 2004. However, after extensive observations using a multitude of telescopes, a team of researchers led by Dr. Benny Trakhtenbrot and Dr. Iair Arcavi, both of TAU’s Raymond & Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy, concluded that AT 2017bgt represented a new way of ‘feeding’ black holes,” reports Science Daily.