The staggering amount of black holes in the universe

Research suggests that black holes could be responsible for much of the mass of galaxies, with around 1% of the mass of ordinary matter found in black holes. This would mean that the universe would host a huge number of black holes – around 40 trillion, or 40 followed by 18 zeros in total.

To arrive at this estimate, several experts from different fields worked together, as explained by one of the researchers, Andrea Lapi of the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) or International School for Advanced Studies: “This research is truly multidisciplinary, covering aspects of and requiring expertise in stellar astrophysics, galaxy formation and evolution, gravitational waves, and multi-messenger astrophysics; as such, it requires collaborative efforts from various members of the SISSA Astrophysics and Cosmology group, and a solid network with external collaborators.”

Black holes may make up a significant portion of the mass of the universe, along with stars, and the dust and gas that is common both within galaxies and between them in the interstellar medium. But you may have noticed that this result showed that black holes could be 1% of ordinary question.

This is because ordinary matter, or what physicists call baryonic matter, is itself only a small part of the total mass of the universe. Everything we see around us – every object, every particle – represents less than 5% of the total of everything that exists in the universe. The rest of the mass is dark matter and dark energy.

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