Fastest-Growing 'Monster' Black Hole Discovered, Can Devour Sun Every Two Days

Fastest-Growing 'Monster' Black Hole Discovered, Can Devour Sun Every Two Days

A team of Australian scientists have just discovered a monster black hole that would be ready to engorge our Sun anytime.

The black hole is the size of about 20 billion suns - at least from the measurements we can see, at 12 billion light-years distant.

Essentially the Donald Trump of quasars, this supermassive black hole dates back more than 12 billion years, to the early dark ages of the universe.

"It would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon and nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky".

"We don't know how this one grew so large, so quickly in the early days of the Universe", said Dr Christian Wolf from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. 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.

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

A Hubble image of a supermassive black hole, or quasar.

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He said the record-breaking hole had been "hiding in plain sight" until about two weeks ago, when the European Space Agency released data that made it easier to identify black holes among the stars.

The black hole is only visible because of its incredible brightness: If it was inside the Milky Way, it would light up more brightly than a full Moon to people on Earth, the astronomers say, making all the other stars in the night sky look dim by comparison.

This computer-generated black hole simulates how no light can escape its wrath.

The ultra-violet light emitted from the quasar was detected by the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory.

The new work was accepted to the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

While it appears that black holes suck in matter, the material does not necessarily fall into it. Scientists believe that primordial black holes were formed right after the Big Bang while stellar black holes occur when a massive star collapses in itself. 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. Its presence was confirmed by the spectrograph on the ANU 2.3-meter telescope. "The hunt is on to find even faster-growing black holes". Supermassive ones like this one are exceedingly rare, as they normally form very early on in the universe.