Friday, 15 February, 2019

Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space

The black hole is estimated to be the size of 20 billion suns. Source NASAMore The black hole is estimated to be the size of 20 billion suns. Source NASAMore
Theresa Hayes | 15 May, 2018, 20:23

"Black holes at the centres of galaxies reach masses of over ten billion times that of our sun", the researchers write in their paper.

The discovery of the new supermassive black hole was confirmed using the spectrograph on the ANU 2.3 metre telescope to split colours into spectral lines. However, until now, scientists thought that black holes had a limit to their growth rate and, in theory, a black hole could not grow above that limitation.

The Australian astronomers are calling it a "monster" black hole and reveal that it eats up a mass equivalent to our sun every two days. There is a limit that astrophysics is called the Eddington limit, at which the matter starts to accumulate in the vicinity of the black hole in the form of a hot "doughnut" made of matter, accretion disk, where matter particles RUB against each other, are heated to ultrahigh temperatures and emitted a black hole in space.

In this case, the researchers discovered the black hole which, according to their estimates, was as big as 20 billion suns and growing by a percent every one million years.

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. "Its growth rate, half a solar mass per day, is nearly double the previous record", explained the scientists. Light can take millions to billions of years to travel depending on the distance between Earth and a distant point in space, which means objects seen at present would appear as they were several eons ago.

The team found this supermassive black hole by combining data from the ESA's Gaia satellite, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and ANU's SkyMapper telescope. "It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky".

"We're now trying to get demographics on the most extreme black holes that are out there so we can create a complete inventory".

READ NEXT: What are black holes?

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

In addition, these fast-growing quasars help clear the fog around transiting objects, "which makes the universe more transparent", said Wolf.

Do you believe that black holes are more than just monsters that devour anything in the universe?