Astronomers discover fastest-growing black hole ever

17 May, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Grady Montgomery
  • HeraldScotland

"The heat radiation from the matter falling into the black hole, which is the light we see, is a few thousand times brighter than our own Milky Way galaxy", Christian Wolf, the lead researcher on the university's team of astronomers, wrote in an email to CNN.

Astronomers at Australian National University have just discovered an enormous black hole that shines.

If this behemoth was in the center of the Milky Way it would have been the only object visible at night, washing out all other stars and planets in its light, says Wolf.

Astronomers estimate that this mystifying quasar is 20 billion times the mass of our sun and is growing at an incredibly fast rate of one percent every one million years.

The ultra-violet light emitted from the quasar was detected by the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory.

He said the record-breaking hole had been "hiding in plain sight" until about two weeks ago, when the European Space Agency released data that made it easier to identify black holes among the stars.

"Again, if this monster was at the center of the Milky Way it would likely make life on Earth impossible with the huge amounts of X-rays emanating from it".

The supermassive black hole, also known as a quasar, is very ancient. It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky, "said Christian Wolf, lead author of the study and a researcher from the Australian National University".

HeraldScotland

READ NEXT: Beyond the Big Bang: What would it have been like to witness the birth of the universe?

Supermassive black holes are incredibly dense areas in the centre of galaxies with masses that can be billions of times that of the sun.

"And it might mean that there were seeds to these black holes in the very early universe".

Australian researchers have discovered what they've described as the fastest-growing black hole in the universe.

Luckily, this black hole is too old and too far away to affect Earth, but that doesn't make its discovery any less remarkable. "We don't know how this one grew so large, so quickly in the early days of the Universe", Wolf said. New land-based telescopes being built over the next decade might able to directly measure the expansion of the universe using these bright black holes.

"Scientists can see the shadows of objects in front of the supermassive black hole", Wolf said.

The results appear in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (arXiv.org preprint).

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




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