40 Quintillion Black Holes

How many black holes are out there in the Universe?

This question has recently been answered by BiD4BESt Early Stage Researcher Alex Sicilia. Currently in his second year of his PhD at Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) in Italy, Alex supervised by Prof Andrea Lapi and Dr Lumen Boco, together with other collaborators from SISSA and from other national and international institutions, used a new computational approach and found that the number of black holes within the observable Universe (a sphere of diameter around 90 billions light years) was 40 billion billions or 40, 000 000, 000 000, 000 000!

According to Alex, ‘this is one of the first, and one of the most robust, ab initio computation of the stellar black hole mass function across cosmic history.‘ You can read how this fascinating multidisciplinary and collaborative research was carried out in Alex’s first authored paper entitled ‘The Black Hole Mass Function Across Cosmic Times. I. Stellar Black Holes and Light Seed Distribution‘ published in The Astrophysical Journal. Co-authors included BiD4BESt’s principal investigators; Prof Andrea Lapi (SISSA), Prof Francesco Shankar (SOTON) and Prof David Alexander (UDUR) .

SISSA News – https://www.sissa.it/news/there-are-40-billion-billions-black-holes-universe


SISSA Video featuring Dr Lumen Boco

Full paper

Image – NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope showing a concentration of small black holes


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