Home LATEST NEWS No less than 40 trillion stellar black holes in the observable Universe

No less than 40 trillion stellar black holes in the observable Universe


This number equals 40 billion billion (4 and 19 zeros).

Scientist Alex Sicilia and his colleagues associated with SISSA (International School of Advanced Studies) come to this estimate after developing a new computational approach described in an article published in theAstrophysical JournalHave (New window)Have (in English).

In addition, these researchers have established that about 1% of all ordinary (called baryonic) matter in the Universe is contained in stellar-mass black holes.

There are four types of black holes. Stellar black holes are formed during the gravitational collapse of certain massive stars at the end of their life which explode as supernovae. The most common stellar black holes have a mass 10 to 20 times that of the Sun.

Remember that a black hole is a region of space whose gravitational field is so intense that it prevents any form of matter or radiation from escaping.

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The new technique

The estimate of the number of black holes in the observable Universe was obtained thanks to an original approach combining big data with empirical calculations of the physical properties of galaxies, such as the rate of star formation.

This calculation method then made it possible to evaluate the number of stellar black holes and their distribution throughout the Universe.

The innovative character of this work lies in the coupling of a detailed model of stellar and binary evolution with data of star formation and metal enrichment in individual galaxies. It is one of the first, and one of the strongest, […] calculations of the number of stellar black holes throughout cosmic history, explains Alex Sicilia.

In August 2017, researcher James Bullock and his colleagues at the University of California, Irvine estimated that our galaxy, the Milky Way, contained 100 million stellar black holes.

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