Australian astronomers find black hole as big as 20 billion suns

Cristina Cross
May 15, 2018

Astronomers in Australia have found that they believe to be the fastest-growing black hole in the known 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. Christian Wolf said that this unveiled black hole has been evolving so quickly that it has got the shine which is thousand times brighter than a whole galaxy.

If this bright black hole would have been in our galaxy, astronomers say that it would outshine all the stars in the sky. Wolf and his colleagues spotted the light with the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory.

"While objects of this luminosity are exceedingly rare in the Universe, they are particularly valuable as bright background and reference sources in order to study the properties of intervening matter along the line-of-sight, and for directly probing the expansion of our Universe with new instruments in the coming decades", the authors reported. 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.

Wolf said that if the black hole had been located at the central position of the Milky Way galaxy, it would have appeared near about ten times brighter as compared to a full moon.

They described the black hole as a "monster" that reportedly devours a mass equivalent to the size of our Sun every two days.

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"As the Universe expands, space expands and that stretches the light waves and changes their colour", Dr Wolf said.

Supermassive black holes, or quasars, like this one, are hard to find among the billions of stars spread across the cosmos. It measures tiny movements in deep-space celestial objects and was able to determine that the object discovered by the team at ANU was sitting still and is likely to be a supermassive black hole.

"And it might mean that there were seeds to these black holes in the very early universe".

Given its distance from Earth, Dr Wolf said it would have formed when the universe, which was formed 13.8 billion years ago, was just 1.3 billion years old.

Dr Wolf said the Gaia satellite confirmed the object that they had found was sitting still, meaning that it was far away and it was a candidate to be a very large quasar.

FOR anyone trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe, there is one thing that is universal, the bigger a black hole is, the better.

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