Black holes are one of the most enigmatic objects in the universe, which is why they always arouse the fascination of researchers.
Now, a group of astronomers has set out to discover the number of black holes in the universe.
According to research carried out by the International School for Advanced Studies of Italy (SISSA), this figure would reach 40 trillion.
To find out, the authors of the work took stellar black holes as a model, which are those that are born as a result of the gravitational collapse of a massive star.
The scientists also took into account a number of factors such as the rate of star formation, the amount of stellar mass, and the metallicity, or abundance of metals.
By combining this data with complex algorithms, the team was able to estimate the rate at which black holes have been created during the history of the universe.
“The innovative character of this work lies in combining a detailed model of stellar and binary evolution together with advanced recipes on star formation and metal enrichment in individual galaxies,” says Alex Sicilia, astrophysicist and lead author of the study.
The research results have also provided data about the mass of black holes. According to the work, almost 1 percent of the ordinary matter in the universe, known as baryonic matter, is locked up in the 40 trillion black holes.
Astronomers hope that this research will help understand how black holes are distributed throughout the universe and when they grow to become supermassive, like the one at the center of our galaxy.
The results of this study were published in The Astrophysical Journal.