HomeAstronomy & SpaceAstronomyScientists discover rapidly growing black hole

Scientists discover rapidly growing black hole

An international team led by astronomers at The Australian National University discovered the fastest-growing black hole in the last 9 billion years (ANU). The black hole consumes one Earth every second and shines 7,000 times brighter than all of the light in our galaxy, making it visible to well-equipped backyard astronomers.
Lead researcher Dr. Christopher Onken and his co-authors describe it as a “very large, unexpected needle in the haystack.” “For more than 50 years, astronomers have been looking for objects like this. They had discovered thousands of fainter ones, but this astonishingly bright one had gone unnoticed “According to Dr.Onken.
The black hole weighs three billion suns. Others of comparable size stopped growing at such rapid rate billions of years ago. “We’d like to know why this one is different—did something terrible happen?” “Perhaps two massive galaxies collided, funneling a massive amount of material onto the black hole to feed it,” Dr.Onken speculated.
“This black hole is such an outlier that while you should never say never, I don’t believe we will find another one like this,” said co-author Associate Professor Christian Wolf.
We are reasonably certain that this record will not be broken. We’ve pretty much exhausted the possibilities for hiding objects like this in the sky.”
The black hole has a visual magnitude of 14.5—the brightness of an object as seen by an observer on Earth. This means that anyone with a good telescope in a dark backyard can see it.
“It’s 500 times bigger than our own galaxy’s black hole,” said co-author and ANU Ph.D. researcher Samuel Lai. “The orbits of our solar system’s planets would all fit within its event horizon—the black hole’s boundary from which nothing can escape.”
The discovery was made as part of the SkyMapper project. The study has been submitted to Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia and published on the arXiv pre-print server.


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