Fastest growing black hole discovered

5_15_Black Hole

Supermassive black holes exist in the center of nearly every galaxy.

Power-hungry, self-aggrandizing, and intense, the fastest-growing black hole known in the universe is devouring mass equivalent to our sun every two days.

What's making astronomers so curious is that the black hole they saw was in the early days of the universe and they're wondering how it grew so large. Its glow is produced by a huge mass of gas which it constantly draws to itself.

ANU astronomer Dr Christian Wolf said if the hole was in the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, we probably wouldn't be here.

The astronomers have looked back more than 12 billion years to the early dark ages of the Universe, when this supermassive black hole was estimated to be the size of about 20 billion suns with a one per cent growth rate every one million years. They occasionally swallow stars, other celestial bodies and gas and emit a portion of the captured matter in the form of jets beams of heated plasma moving at relativistic speeds.

Supermassive black holes, or quasars, like this one, are hard to find among the billions of stars spread across the cosmos.

Dr Wolf said the energy emitted from this newly discovered supermassive black hole, also known as a quasar, was mostly ultraviolet light but also radiated x-rays.

"If we had this monster sitting at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon".

It was detected at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory. Wolf further added that the research is still going on to hunt for more faster-evolving black holes.

According to the scientists, we are fortunate that this mega black hole is not sitting at the center of our galaxy. 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.

Hence, it is fortunate for the mankind that the black hole is located far beyond.

If this bright black hole would have been in our galaxy, astronomers say that it would outshine all the stars in the sky.

Given its distance from Earth, Dr Wolf said it would have formed when the universe, which was formed 13.8 billion years ago, was just 1.3 billion years old. "It is very far away", he says. Improved technology on ground-based telescopes coming online over the next decade will also be able to directly measure the expansion of the universe using the very bright black holes. That would be right after the Big Bang.



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