Astrophysics (Index)About

supermassive black hole

(black hole with a mass of millions to billions of solar masses)

A supermassive black hole (SMBH) is a large black hole, often in the center of a galaxy. A black hole is considered "supermassive" if its mass is on the order of millions (or hundreds of thousands) of solar masses or more, sometimes cited as 108 through 109 as typical. The largest observed as of 12/2012 is on the order of 20 billion solar masses.

Such large black holes are considered the energy source for an active galactic nucleus (AGN). Such a black hole has been detected in the center of the Milky Way by observing the tight orbits of stars around it.

A supermassive binary black hole (SMBBH) is two orbiting SMBHs. They are thought to result from galaxy mergers.

Regarding terms, SBH is occasionally used to mean SMBH, but perhaps more often to mean "stellar black hole". SMBH unfortunately might be used or read to mean "stellar mass" or "solar mass", but its use as "supermassive" appears pretty consistent.

(black holes,galaxies,object type)
Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
accretion rate
active galaxy
active galactic nucleus (AGN)
broad emission line region
black hole accretion rate (BHAR)
black hole binary (BHB)
black hole (BH)
broad-line region (BLR)
binary SMBH (BSMBH)
dark matter
direct collapse black hole (DCBH)
Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)
extreme mass ratio inspiral (EMRI)
exotic star
final parsec problem
galactic bulge
galactic center
gravitational wave spectrum
hypercompact stellar system (HCSS)
International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA)
Sombrero Galaxy (M104)
Messier 106 (M106)
Messier 84 (M84)
Meier paradox
M-sigma relation
solar mass (MSun)
NGC 1600
nanohertz gravitational waves
pulsar timing array (PTA)
retrograde accretion
radio galaxy (RG)
Radio Galaxy Zoo (RGZ)
Schwarzschild radius
SGR J1745-2900
Soltan argument
tidal disruption event (TDE)
X-ray source