SkyMapper Telescope Detects Fastest Growing Black Hole In The Universe

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The mega black hole that is said to be growing faster than any black hole in the universe today was found by scientists from the Australian National University (ANU).

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 takes a million years to grow by 1%, but given it's already estimated to be as big as 20 billion suns, that means the black hole, also known as a quasar, is growing by around 66.5 million Earths annually.

Dr Christian Wolf from the ANU's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, says the black hole emits huge amounts of radiation which is in the form of ultraviolet light but also radiated X-rays.

"If we had this monster sitting at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon", Wolf added. "The European Space Agency's Gaia satellite, which measures tiny motions of celestial objects, helped us find this supermassive black hole", Wolf said.

Wolf explained that fast-growing supermassive black holes can be used as beacons to study everything around them, because they're so bright that astronomers can spot the shadows of other objects passing in front of them.

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

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The light travelled for 12 billion years until it reached the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory. They believe objects like these are extremely rare but could be the key to gain more insight into the beginning and expansion of our universe.

Dr Wolf said the Gaia satellite confirmed the object that they had found was sitting still, meaning that it was far away and it was a candidate to be a very large quasar.

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We know that black holes get their extra mass because of the gravitational pull, through which they literally absorb materials around them, even light.

"During the birth of the universe, some really massive seeds were created that these black holes then formed around". However, until now, scientists thought that black holes had a limit to their growth rate and, in theory, a black hole could not grow above that limitation.

With giant new ground-based telescopes now under construction, scientists will also be able to use bright, distant objects like this voracious black hole to measure the universe's expansion, the researchers said. He has worked as a journalist in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and joined the Times in March 2018.

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