How It Works

Newly discovered black hole snacks on suns like ours

The team of astronomers have discovered the giant black hole consumes approximately the mass of the Earth’s Sun every two days as it grows, which is leaving a huge mark in the galaxy surrounding the newly described object roughly 12 billion light-years away. We’re lucky it’s so far from us or we could have ended up one of the planets devoured in its path.

Christian Wolf, lead study author and astronomer at the Australian National University, has said in a press release; “This black hole is growing so rapidly that it’s shining thousands of times more brightly than an entire galaxy, due to all of the gases it sucks in daily that cause lots of friction and heat.”

The scientists don’t know exactly how the supermassive black hole has managed to grow so big so fast, but they have analysed it in their paper by combining visible and infrared light wave measurements from ANU’s SkyMapper telescope alongside observations from previous space surveys. They learnt from this that the black hole is stationary, and maybe the most luminous ever discovered.

The black hole is useful to scientists as it means they can use it as a giant backlight to study galaxies between us and the quasar in greater detail than ever before.


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