Fastest growing black hole discovered


Wolf said if it was at the centre of the Milky Way, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon as a pin-point star that would nearly wash out all the stars in the sky.

New York Times columnist and science writer Carl Zimmer tweeted in response to the ANU press release stating: "Astronomers find a hungry black hole that could gobble up our sun in 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.

According to Wolf, this kind of black holes that are both fast-growing and incredibly large are "exceedingly rare" to find and could actually be used to measure the expansion of the universe.

Apparently, what baffled the scientists was that this black hole expands at such an accelerated pace that, in accordance to the current theories, it must have about 20 billion times the mass of our Sun.

The discovery was then confirmed using a spectrograph at the university's Siding Spring Observatory 2.3 metre telescope.

Astronomers discover fastest-growing black hole in space.

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

"That one has a mass of 5 million solar masses - that is 40,000 times less mass than the one that we have now found", Dr Wolf explained.

Dr Wolf said compiling a complete inventory would hopefully take less than three years, with the ANU's SkyMapper telescope and the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite making the task more achievable than it would have been in the past.

"We don't have to be afraid of that".

After traveling for more than 12 billion years, the quasar's light was detected by the SkyMapper in the near-infrared spectrum.

The capsule, he said, helped to confirm that the far-away object was a candidate to be a very large quasar.

"So this means it's far, far away in another galaxy and it will never drift and come over here."

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The new work was accepted to the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

Wolf painted a vivid picture of what the supermassive black hole would look like from Earth if it were located in the center of our galaxy.

The supermassive black hole, also known as a quasar, is very ancient.