SkyMapper Telescope Detects Fastest Growing Black Hole In The Universe

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SkyMapper Telescope Detects Fastest Growing Black Hole In The Universe

This supermassive black hole is the fastest-growing quasar in the known universe.

Dr Wolf said one benefit from finding black holes is they act as backlighting to everything else out in the cosmos, making it easier to see.

In fact, if this "monster" black hole was at the heart of our galaxy, its enormous X-ray output would likely make life on Earth impossible, he said.

Although Wolf's team is uncertain how the black hole grew so big during the early days of the universe, he said they are on to find similar giant ones.

A black hole is essentially an intense gravitational pull that sucks in everything in its path - including light. It emits light that is a thousand times brighter than an entire galaxy due to the heat and friction caused by all the gases it absorbed.

While researchers were looking at the early universe, they stumbled upon this monster black hole. "It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky".

Dr. Christian Wolf, from ANU's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, explains that the rapidly expanding quasar puts on a spectacular light show as it engulfs everything around it.

The black hole is also growing at the rate of around one percent every million years and 12 billion years ago, as they are seeing it, the void was about the size of 20 billion of our suns. However, the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory was able to detect the ultraviolet light emitted by the quasar.

"There's a big mystery about how these supermassive black holes form, because we don't understand how something could get that big that quickly; our normal theories don't work", she says.

"As the universe expands, space expands and that stretches the light waves and changes their color", Wolf clarified. 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. That might not seem like a very speedy growth, but in terms of the expansion of black holes it's pretty insane.

The study, titled "Discovery of the most ultra-luminous QSO using Gaia, SkyMapper, and WISE", will be detailed in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia and the arXiv preprint is available online.

Astronomers found the fastest growing black hole outside the Milky Way.

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