Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space

Visualization of a Mega Black Hole

Image by Jurik Pete | Shutterstock

The supermassive black hole is so powerful, that if it were at the centre of the Milky Way, all life on earth would be impossible.

Now, a new discovery reports a monstrous black hole that has approximately 4,000 times the mass of Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole in the center of Milky Way, and is expanding even faster than any other black hole astronomers have ever observed.

The ultra-violet light emitted from the quasar was detected by the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory. Looking through data from Europe's Gaia satellite, the researchers uncovered a supermassive black hole that's expanding at dizzying speeds, swallowing up the surrounding cosmos.

It takes a million years to grow by 1%, but given it's already estimated to be as big as 20 billion suns, that means the black hole, also known as a quasar, is growing by around 66.5 million Earths annually.

"It would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon and nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky".

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.

Astronomers discover fastest-growing black hole in space.

"They must have grown at super rates for a long period of time; or they originate from massive seed black holes that formed during the dark early ages by direct collapse".




And Dr Christian Wolf and his team at the ANU's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics have found a monster.

"As the universe expands, space expands and that stretches the light waves and changes their color", Wolf clarified.

The findings have been accepted for publication in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA).

Most of the energy coming from the quasar is ultraviolet light.

Dr Wolf said the Gaia satellite confirmed the object that they had found was sitting still, meaning that it was far away and it was a candidate to be a very large quasar.

Do you believe that black holes are more than just monsters that devour anything in the universe?

"It would appear as an incredibly bright pinpoint star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky", he added.

"There's a big mystery about how these supermassive black holes form, because we don't understand how something could get that big that quickly; our normal theories don't work", she says. Wolf said that the super-huge black holes could be used like beacons for seeing and studying the evolution of objects in the "early galaxies of the universe" due to their shine.

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