A rare and amazing black hole discovery where a gamma ray burst has lensed around the black hole on its way to Earth, has astronomers excited. Not only has it allowed them to capture the moment with some incredible images, but it has helped to identity a rare type of black hole.
Stellar black holes, typically 3 to 10 times the mass of our sun, formed when an enormous star explodes and then implodes in on itself, are considered regular black holes.
Supermassive Black Holes, on the other hand, are incredibly enormous; millions to billions of times heavier again. These lie at the heart of galaxies.
Science has predictions that cater to both types of black holes and astronomers had only discovered the two types of black holes, stellar black holes and supermassive black holes until very recently.
However in the past few years, astronomers have begun to discover intermediate black holes, including one that is around 100 times the mass of our sun and was formed by the collision of two smaller black holes.
An even more massive intermediate black hole, around 55000 times the mass of our sun, has just been discovered when a gamma ray burst lensed around the black hole, making it stand out against the background of space.
As Einstein put it, black holes are infinitely small, infinitely dense specks known as a singularity, where the math of general relativity breaks down.
The largest known black hole ever discovered, TON 618 is around 66 billion solar masses. Each solar mass is the equivalent to the size of our own sun, which puts its incredible size into a league of its own and makes our own sun look vastly smaller than a grain of sand.