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Australian astronomers find a cosmic 'monster' that's growing fast

16 May 2018
Australian astronomers find a cosmic 'monster' that's growing fast

"If we had this monster sitting at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear ten times brighter than a full moon". So if Wolf is right, this insane black hole is sending out an nearly incomprehensible amount of sterilizing radiation that essentially renders an entire corner of the cosmos inhospitable to life as we know it.

It also swallows mass in the equivalent of our entire sun every two Earth days, reports the team from the Australian National University, recently in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

"In the past, people perhaps went for black holes that were easier to identify because they looked a bit different", Dr Wolf said. The formation lies at the beginning of the universe, 12 billion light years away, and it has the fastest speed of growth ever seen.

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.

Initially the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory discovered light from the black hole in the "near-infrared".

This makes the newfound giant black hole the fastest-growing quasar in the known universe.

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

'It would appear as an incredible bright pin-point star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky'.

Not that you'd know, because the x-rays emanating from it would make life on Earth impossible.

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.

The find, which came after months of months of SkyMapper scanning, was further confirmed by European Space Agency's Gaia satellite. 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.

"The hunt is on to find even faster-growing black holes".

But astronomers have spotted the fastest growing back hole ever seen and its voracious appetite actually makes it shine nearly inconceivably bright.