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Scientists Spot Universe's Fastest-Growing Black Hole

Scientists Spot Universe's Fastest-Growing Black Hole

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

"So, either black holes can grow faster than the speed limit, but we don't know how that works, and we have not seen it yet in action, or there is an unknown way to make 5,000 solar mass black holes very close in time to the Big Bang", Wolf said.

The large hole, codenamed QSO SMSS J215728.21-360215.1, is the staggering size of about 20 billion suns, and grows at a rate of 200 million suns over a million years.

However, the supermassive black hole is at a distance of 12 billion light-years, meaning that what the astronomers saw happened 12 billion years ago.

The European Space Agency's Gaia satellite, which measures tiny motions of celestial objects, also helped out, confirming that ANU's discovery was sitting still and thus likely to be a quasar. It is not known, however, how a black hole could grow so large, so early in the universe, and the ANU team is already on the hunt for other, faster-growing quasars to learn more.

"Fast-growing supermassive black holes also help to clear the fog around them by ionising gases", Wolf said in a statement, "which makes the Universe more transparent". They looked at the quasar named SMSS~J215728.21-360215.1, and in its center, they saw a supermassive black hole that shines brightly.

Fortunately, Wolf points out that such huge and rapidly growing black holes seem to be very rare.

A monster black hole has been discovered, and it's growing very fast (but it's far, far away)
The fastest-growing black hole in the universe eats a sun every 48 hours - and Australian astronomers have found it

'It would appear as an incredible bright pin-point star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky'.

If it sat at the heart of our own galaxy, researchers say the supermassive black hole would wipe out any chance of life on Earth.

And, like all growing boys, this supermassive black hole has a hefty appetite.

"Scientists can see the shadows of objects in front of the supermassive black hole", Wolf said. "But who knows what happened in the dark early ages of the universe?"

"During the birth of the universe, some really massive seeds were created that these black holes then formed around".

The studied black hole reportedly draws off light of large amounts thereby outshining the entire galaxy. 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.

The study is due to appear in the peer-reviewed journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA).




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