At the center of our galaxy is a black hole nine light-years wide and four million times more massive than our Sun. It's a monstrous astronomical creature that devours matter, and thanks to a very sophisticated telescope we've got a better picture of what that looks like.
A while back, we brought you news of a supermassive black hole that was 17 billion times more massive than our sun, making it among the biggest black holes ever found. We didn't think they could get much bigger than that, but new research suggests they can, and there may be more of these monsters than we ever thought.
Black holes are massive things. Supermassive black holes, found at the center of most spiral galaxies, are packed with hundreds of millions (if not billions) of times the mass of a star, yet they fit in relatively small spaces. The point is, they've all got lots of mass, but astronomers just found one that makes every other black hole ever seen look small.
We've known for some time that there are a large number of black holes out there in the universe, but it turns out previous estimates undershot the actual numbers by quite some margin. Thanks to the results of a broad scan of the sky by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey (WISE) telescope, we now know the number of black holes is actually much, much bigger than we thought.