(ORDO NEWS) — A supermassive black hole has recently been discovered that is growing so fast that it shines 7,000 times brighter than the entire Milky Way.
Every second, an amount of material equivalent to the mass of the Earth falls into this insatiable black hole.
As far as we know, this is the fastest growing black hole in the last 9 billion years – its activity is so frenetic that it emits multi-wavelength light in the universe, which makes it the so-called quasar.
The black hole is called SMSS J114447.77-430859.3 – J1144 for short – and analysis of its properties shows that its light has traveled about 7 billion years to reach us, and that its mass is about 2.6 billion times that of the Sun ( quite a solid value for a supermassive black hole).
And yes, this colossal object has so far gone unnoticed . But because of where it sits – 18 degrees above the galactic plane – previous quasar surveys have managed to overlook it.
Apart from supernova explosions emitting gamma-ray bursts, quasars are the brightest single objects in the universe.
They are the result of a supermassive black hole accreting matter at tremendous speed from a huge disk of dust and gas that spirals into the black hole like water down a sewer.
It is not the black hole itself that glows, but matter heated by strong friction and gravity, emitting light across the entire spectrum.
In addition, astronomers believe that some of the matter can be guided and accelerated along the magnetic field lines around the outside of the black hole to the poles, where it is ejected into space in the form of high-speed plasma jets. The interaction of these jets with gas in the surrounding galaxy creates radio waves.
But there is something really strange about J1144. Quasars with the same level of activity can be found, but much earlier in the history of the universe, which goes back about 13.8 billion years.
Around 9 billion years ago, this furious quasar activity seems to have subsided somewhat, making J1144 a charming oddity. The quasar is so bright that anyone with a telescope in their backyard can get out and look at it with their own eyes.
“This black hole is so unusual that while you should never say never, I don’t believe we’ll find another one like it,” said ANU astronomer Christian Wolf. “We are quite confident that this record will not be broken. We’ve practically run out of skies where objects like this could hide.”
Contact us: [email protected]