Australian astronomers find a cosmic 'monster' that's growing fast


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

It is growing at a rate of 1 per cent every 1 million years, and it is so big it is consuming a mass equivalent to our Sun every two days.

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.

And it's a good thing this monster black hole isn't at the centre of our Milky Way. It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky, "said Christian Wolf, lead author of the study and a researcher from the Australian National University". Therefore, it's easy to understand how researchers spotted it even if it's so far away. 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. Wolf said that the reason is that the large amount of gases it takes in every day causes much heat and friction.

"Scientists can see the shadows of objects in front of the supermassive black hole", he said.

We know that black holes get their extra mass because of the gravitational pull, through which they literally absorb materials around them, even light. Previously, astronomers had already found black holes much heavier than they should be due to their age.

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"Fast-growing supermassive black holes also help to clear the fog around them by ionising gases", Wolf said in a statement, "which makes the Universe more transparent".

It was detected at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory.

This black hole started when the Universe, which is about 14 billion years old, was only 1.2 billion years old. Therefore, they are now looking for other fast-growing formations that might be comparable to this one.

The findings have been accepted for publication in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA).

If this bright black hole would have been in our galaxy, astronomers say that it would outshine all the stars in the sky. Wolf further added that the research is still going on to hunt for more faster-evolving black holes. They then used a spectrograph on the ANU's 2.3 meter telescope to analyse the light. Improved technology on ground-based telescopes coming online over the next decade will also be able to directly measure the expansion of the universe using the very bright black holes.