Science

Scientists Spot Universe's Fastest-Growing Black Hole

Scientists Spot Universe's Fastest-Growing Black Hole

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. "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".

It sounds unusual to describe a black hole as "bright", but astronomers at Australian National University have spotted one so bright that were it in our home galaxy, it would outshine all the stars in the sky and even give the full moon a run for its money.

The Australian astronomers are calling it a "monster" black hole and reveal that it eats up a mass equivalent to our sun every two days.

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. The black hole is about 20 billion times bigger than the Sun and growing at an unbelievable speed - 1% with each passing million years.

Christian Wolf at the Australian National University (ANU) said that no one has an idea as to how the object grew to be so big so fast in the Universe's early days.

"If we had this monster sitting at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon", Wolf added. "Its growth rate, half a solar mass per day, is nearly double the previous record", explained the scientists.




It was detected at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory. "It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky".

This makes the newfound giant black hole the fastest-growing quasar in the known universe.

According to the scientists, we are fortunate that this mega black hole is not sitting at the center of our galaxy. Wolf said that with the expansion of the Universe, space gets expanded, which stretches the waves of light and transforms their color. Meanwhile, the Gaia satellite, which measures tiny motions of celestial objects, identified the back hole as a stationary object, which suggested it was very large and very far away.

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

That said, they think improving technology and advanced ground-based telescopes coming over the next decade should be able to leverage black holes like these to understand how our universe has been growing.