Astronomers discover the fastest-growing black hole ever

15 May, 2018, 21:48 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • A monster black hole has been discovered, and it's growing very fast (but it's far, far away)

"We estimate that this black hole has a mass of at least 20 billion times the mass of the Sun".

If the sun were to fall into this incredibly dense cosmic object, it would only take two days for the black hole to devour it, the scientists behind the new discovery have said.

However, the supermassive black hole is at a distance of 12 billion light-years, meaning that what the astronomers saw happened 12 billion years ago.

"If we had this monster sitting at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear ten times brighter than a full moon". Wolf further added that it would have appeared as an unbelievably bright "pin-point star", which could wash out almost every star present in the celestial sphere. It measures tiny movements in deep-space celestial objects and was able to determine that the object discovered by the team at ANU was sitting still and is likely to be a supermassive black hole. The finding was ultimately confirmed with the help of a spectrograph in the Siding Spring Observatory of the university.

What puzzles Wolf is how it grew so large, so quickly when the universe was just a toddler, but despite the fact that black holes this big are "exceedingly rare", the ANU team are already on the hunt for other, faster-growing quasars.

"Surprisingly we have found such massive black holes already in the early universe, just 800 million years after the Big Bang".

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But it wouldn't much matter, since the oodles of x-rays emanating from this great void would probably make life on Earth impossible.

However, it's a good thing our planet is not so close to such a monster black hole.

"And it might mean that there were seeds to these black holes in the very early universe". Wolf said that with the expansion of the Universe, space gets expanded, which stretches the waves of light and transforms their color. The studied black hole reportedly draws off light of large amounts thereby outshining the entire galaxy.

In addition, these fast-growing quasars help clear the fog around transiting objects, "which makes the universe more transparent", said Wolf. However, until now, scientists thought that black holes had a limit to their growth rate and, in theory, a black hole could not grow above that limitation.

The new work was accepted to the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

Dr Wolf said as these kinds of black holes shine, they can be used as beacons to see and study the formation of elements in the early galaxies of the Universe.

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