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Impossibly huge black holes may have come from weird ancient stars

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Some black holes seem impossible

Alexandr Yurtchenko/Alamy

Of all the prevailing ideas for how black holes emerge, none could account for the existence of an impossibly large type of black hole detected in 2019 – but now we may know how it could have formed.

In May 2019, researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the US and its Italian counterpart Virgo measured ripples in space-time called gravitational waves and determined that their signal was the result of two black holes merging.

Stellar-mass black holes like these arise when a star becomes …