How is the mass of a black hole determined?

Question:

How is the mass of a black hole determined?

Masses Of Black holes:

The smallest black holes known have around 3-6 solar masses. Most black holes tend to have 10-100 but some, known as supermassive black holes, have billions of times the mass of the sun.

Answer and Explanation:

The mass of a black hole is usually determined by comparing the speed of the objects orbiting it. For example, an equation derived from Kepler's Third Law can determine the sum of masses in orbit by dividing the cube of the semimajor axis by the square of the orbital period. Once you know the sum of the masses, you can subtract the mass of the visible object to get the black hole's mass.


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Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motion

from Basics of Astronomy

Chapter 22 / Lesson 12
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