If you ever find yourself in the midst of a horrible day, take a moment and find solace in the fact that you live here on Earth and not 220 million light years away in the NGC 1277 galaxy. Sure, the name doesn't roll quite as nicely off the tongue as "Milky Way," but that's not NGC 1277's biggest fault—it's the ginormous black hole at the center of it that's 17 billion times larger than the Sun.
The Sun is around 865,000 miles in diameter. We'll let you do the math.
The team of scientists that discovered the black hole published its findings today in Nature. One of the researchers on the team, Karl Gebhardt of the University of Texas, called NGC 1277 a "really oddball galaxy."
"It’s almost all black hole. This could be the first object in a new class of galaxy-black hole systems," said Gebhardt.
Nearly every large galaxy has a black hole—an object so large that their gravity sucks up everything around it—at its center. Ours is believed to only take up 0.1 percent of the Milky Way's center. The newly discovered black hole takes up a whopping 59 percent of NGC 1277's center. We can't imagine how it would be to live in such a galaxy. Literally. We have no idea.
Below is a video that shows an animation of how the researchers think stars in NGC 1277 would behave around the giant black hole.
Watch it and be merry.
[Nature via ABC News]