A supermassive black hole that eats an Earth every second discovered

Deepak Gupta June 18, 2022
Updated 2022/06/18 at 2:48 PM

A team of researchers from the Australian National University believes they have found a supermassive black hole that consumes the equivalent of an Earth every second and has a mass of 3 billion suns, a number that is 500 times greater than Sagittarius A*, the monstrous hole. at the center of our galaxy that has recently seen a first image revealed.

Experts say the fastest growing black hole in the last nine billion years has been discovered.

Black hole this size is a flash in the dark

Through SkyMapper Southern Sky Surveya 1.3-meter telescope in New South Wales, researchers discovered an extremely bright quasar: 7000 times brighter than all the light in the Milky Way. A quasar is a very specific phenomenon related to the "massive jets" associated with accretion disks.

The study is currently being reviewed, but if confirmed, it will be a bomb.

size is not everything

Analyzing this quasar, the researchers realized that the data don't add up. According to the authors, "the light we are seeing from this growing black hole has been traveling to us for about 7 billion years" (the Big Bang occurred about 13.8 billion years ago). It's a very short time for a monster like that.

There are other black holes of similar size, "but they all tend to be much older in the history of the universe, where mergers between galaxies were much more common," explained Christopher Onken. If the data is confirmed, this would be the fastest growing black hole in the last 9 billion years.

A giant black hole: How come we've never seen it before?

As the researchers themselves admit, "people have been looking for these growing black holes since the early 1960s." We've located about 880,000 of them. How is it possible that something so brilliant has been overlooked?

The explanation they give is related to the night sky.

Historically, people have avoided looking too closely at the plane of the Milky Way because there are so many stars and so many pollutants that it is very difficult to find anything. Without going any further, many searches stop looking at 25 degrees... almost all stop at 20 degrees from the plane of the Milky Way. This object is at 18 degrees.

Christopher Onken mentioned.

So big that it can be "seen" by amateur astronomers

J1144, as the quasar is called, is bright enough to be visible to amateur astronomers.

If you want to see it with the naked eye, you probably need a 30-40 cm wide telescope, but that's more than possible.

Onken explained.

An article detailing the discovery has been submitted to the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, but has not yet been peer-reviewed. A pre-printed version is available through the database of arXiv.

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