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Meet the fastest-growing black hole

16 May 2018, 14:43 UTC
Meet the fastest-growing black hole
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Image via ANU.
Astronomers announced on May 15, 2018 that they’ve identified the fastest-growing black hole yet known in the universe. They describe it as a monster that devours a mass equivalent to our sun every two days. They spied this black hole – which is also known as an ultra-luminous quasar – while looking back more than 12 billion years to what are called the cosmic dark ages of our universe.
At that time, this supermassive black hole was estimated to be the size of about 20 billion suns. It had a 1 percent growth rate every million years.
Christian Wolf of Australian National University (ANU) is lead author of the study of this object, which is labeled by the quasar name QSO SMSS~J215728.21-360215.1. Wolf said in a statement:
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.
If we had this monster sitting at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon. It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star ...

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