Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space

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The SkyMapper telescope, which Australian National University astronomers used to find the fastest-growing black hole known in the universe.

"If we had this monster sitting at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full Moon".

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

Wolf's team discovered the black hole while they were searching for it using the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran, New South Wales.

However, it's a good thing our planet is not so close to such a 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", said Dr. Apart from absorbing gases, it would have emanated all kinds of radiations that would have made life on Earth impossible. Previously, astronomers had already found black holes much heavier than they should be due to their age.

Apparently, what baffled the scientists was that this black hole expands at such an accelerated pace that, in accordance to the current theories, it must have about 20 billion times the mass of our Sun.

Dr Wolf said the energy emitted from this newly discovered supermassive black hole, also known as a quasar, was mostly ultraviolet light but also radiated x-rays. Wolf said that the reason is that the large amount of gases it takes in every day causes much heat and friction.

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

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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. 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.

Dubbed J215728.21-360215.1, the supermassive black hole was recently noticed by the before-mentioned Dr. Wolf and his colleagues.

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. "It is very far away", he said.

"What's really important in this business is now to actually find the most massive ones because they are the hardest ones to explain", he says.

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