Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Astronomers discover fastest-growing black hole ever

Astronomers discover fastest-growing black hole ever

At the same time, the rare quasar could shed more light - quite literally, as it shines bright enough to make nearby objects visible, notes ANU - into how elements are formed in the universe's oldest galaxies.

Christian Wolf, a researcher from the Australian National University who was on the team that made the discovery, said according to a statement.

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. It reached this tremendous size at an impressive speed, as it grows by one percent once every million of years. That may seem an extraordinarily long time to humans, but is minuscule in the time span of the universe.

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.

We know that black holes get their extra mass because of the gravitational pull, through which they literally absorb materials around them, even light.

The black hole is only visible because of its incredible brightness: If it was inside the Milky Way, it would light up more brightly than a full Moon to people on Earth, the astronomers say, making all the other stars in the night sky look dim by comparison.

The SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory detected this light in the near-infrared, as the light waves had red-shifted over the billions of light years to Earth. Now the challenge is to work out how these objects were able to grow so fast, to such large sizes, so early in the formation of the Universe. 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".

Because of its distance and the expansion of space, that light had shifted into the near-infrared during its billions-of-years journey. They used ANU's own Skymapper Southern Sky Survey and the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite data to home in on the beast. Wolf further added that the research is still going on to hunt for more faster-evolving black holes.

"These big fast-growing black holes also help to clear the fog that surrounds them with ionizing gases, which makes the Universe more transparent", he added.

"Surprisingly we have found such massive black holes already in the early universe, just 800 million years after the Big Bang".

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