Astronomer Dr David Whitehouse said the “enormous” black hole discovered by astronomers in South America showed the whole universe might one day be swallowed by a black hole. He told Sky News: “We’re beginning to realise that we had thought that there was a limit to the size of black holes in the centre of a galaxy because they can only swallow so many stars. Black holes grow by swallowing matter and gas and stars and dust.
“This one is enormous, so perhaps there are even bigger black holes out there.
“And there are some theories which suggest that eventually in the vast length of time, more time in the future than we can imagine, everything will end up in a black hole.
“The whole universe.”
The astronomer and author did, however, say black holes are currently not a “threat” to us as “the Sun is never going to become a black hole and neither is the Earth”.
He added: “They’re the extreme of space and time.
READ MORE: Millions of hidden black holes are slowly draining the Milky Way
“The importance of black holes is because they’re not made of matter, they’re made of space and time folded space.
“And therefore they give you a different view on how the universe works and what the universe can create.
“And black holes come in all sorts of sizes. There are black holes the size of atoms and there are black holes billion times the size of the sun at the centre of very large galaxies.
“And they’re fascinating and revealing objects.
“A black hole is an object where the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light. And light is the fastest anything can ever go.
The black hole was found by astronomers using NASA’s powerful Chandra X-ray Observatory.
NASA’s Chandra can see the universe in a way the naked eye cannot – by looking at the stars for X-ray radiation.
Fabio Vito of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, said: “It’s extraordinarily challenging to find quasars in this cloaked phase because so much of their radiation is absorbed and cannot be detected by current instruments.
“Thanks to Chandra and the ability of X-rays to pierce through the obscuring cloud, we think we’ve finally succeeded.”
The black hole is believed to have a mass 40 billion times bigger than the sun.