“Typical” black holes weigh around 3 to 10 solar masses. (One solar mass is equal to the mass of the sun, about 333,000 times the mass of Earth.)
Supermassive black holes, which exist in the center of most galaxies, “are astonishingly heavy, with masses ranging from millions to billions of solar masses.” From NASA:
“Why they are so incredibly massive isn’t known, but astronomers are pretty sure their development is linked to their presence at the center of their galaxy. There are so many stars and so much gas and dust that the black hole can grow large very quickly. And since many galaxies collide repeatedly during their long lifetimes, supermassive black holes have a ready-made way to collide and coalesce into even heavier supermassive black holes.”
But what about black holes that are even larger or so small that they may not even exist?
This epic Kurzgesagt animation showcases eleven of the universe’s black holes in approximate size order, from hypothetical primordial black holes to elusive ultramassive black holes like TON 618.
Size comparisons to Earth, our sun, our solar system, and the Milky Way help visualize these behemoths throughout.
Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, appears at the 6-minute mark. Messier 87‘s black hole, Pōwehi—the first black hole we imaged—appears just after 8m20s. A behind-the-scenes explainer (and black hole merch ad) begins at 11m25s.
Watch these related videos next:
• Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way
• The first image of a black hole: A three minute guide
• Taking the very first picture of a black hole – Black Hole Hunters
• Stephen Hawking explains black holes in 90 seconds
• Planet and star size comparisons from smaller to larger
• What is the largest known star in the universe?
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