Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space

HeraldScotland

HeraldScotland

This supermassive black hole is the fastest-growing quasar in the known universe.

Researchers at the Australian National University have discovered a monster.

With giant new ground-based telescopes now under construction, scientists will also be able to use bright, distant objects like this voracious black hole to measure the universe's expansion, the researchers said.

For those trying to unlock the secrets of the universe, the bigger a black hole is, the better.

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

"While objects of this luminosity are exceedingly rare in the Universe, they are particularly valuable as bright background and reference sources in order to study the properties of intervening matter along the line-of-sight, and for directly probing the expansion of our Universe with new instruments in the coming decades", the authors reported.

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.

Now scientists are on the hunt for another black hole that might beat out this black hole's appetite and give them a glimpse into the inner workings of the universe only a few billion years after it formed. It emits light that is a thousand times brighter than an entire galaxy due to the heat and friction caused by all the gases it absorbed. "It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky", said Dr. 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.

"What's really important in this business is now to actually find the most massive ones because they are the hardest ones to explain", he says. Also, there's no reason to panic according to Dr. Wolf.

The new work was accepted to the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. The finding was ultimately confirmed with the help of a spectrograph in the Siding Spring Observatory of the university.

They looked at the quasar named SMSS~J215728.21-360215.1, and in its center, they saw a supermassive black hole that shines brightly.

In addition, these fast-growing quasars help clear the fog around transiting objects, "which makes the universe more transparent", said Wolf.

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