Fastest growing black hole discovered


However, the researcher also noted that humans would not have been around to see that pin-point in that case, because the X-rays emanating out from the monster would have meant the end of all life on Earth.

The mega black hole that is said to be growing faster than any black hole in the universe today was found by scientists from the Australian National University (ANU). Its glow is produced by a huge mass of gas which it constantly draws to itself.

"This black hole is growing so fast that it is shining thousands of times brighter than an entire galaxy".

Astronomers estimate that this mystifying quasar is 20 billion times the mass of our sun and is growing at an incredibly fast rate of one percent every one million years. Meanwhile, the Gaia satellite, which measures tiny motions of celestial objects, identified the back hole as a stationary object, which suggested it was very large and very far away.

He adds that "if we had this monster sitting at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon".

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.

If black holes were already a total mystery to scientists, they now face a much greater mystery. Wolf further added that it would have appeared as an unbelievably bright "pin-point star", which could wash out almost every star present in the celestial sphere.

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

"As the universe expands, space expands and that stretches the light waves and changes their color", Wolf clarified.

If this bright black hole would have been in our galaxy, astronomers say that it would outshine all the stars in the sky.

Most of the energy coming from the quasar is ultraviolet light.

"What's really important in this business is how to actually find the most massive ones because they are the hardest ones to explain", he told ABC News Australia.

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

That said, they think improving technology and advanced ground-based telescopes coming over the next decade should be able to leverage black holes like these to understand how our universe has been growing.