‘Eats’ the sun in a day: the fastest growing black hole ever discovered

Astronomers already know of many black holes of different sizes and types, but no telescope has ever seen a monster capable of absorbing as much material in just a day as the Sun contains. . The discovery was made by an international team led by astrophysicists from the Australian National University. This supermassive black hole turns out to be the brightest and fastest growing black hole ever known. A distant quasar called J0529-435, located near the edge of the universe in the constellation Pictor, was first discovered by a 2.3-meter telescope in New South Wales, Australia. The research team then used the Very Large Telescope in the Chilean highlands to estimate the black hole’s mass. A gigantic ‘flaw’ in space-time has been found to be at least 17 billion times more massive than the Sun. Moreover, this black hole consumes approximately the same amount of material every day as is contained in the star itself. This makes quasars, the turbulent swirls of gas and stars that surround the hole, the brightest in the universe (more than 500 trillion times brighter than our sun) and incredibly large. Its diameter is 7 light years, or 1.5 times her distance from Earth. From the Sun to Alpha Centauri, the closest star. “The accretion disk is so huge, so dense and so hot that it shines about 500 trillion times brighter than the Sun and emits about 20,000 times more radiation than the entire Milky Way, which contains billions of stars.” said the lead author. Researcher and Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at ANU Christian Wolff. Despite this huge brightness, Wolf said, black holes have been extremely difficult to find and calculate. “If you look at the sky, you see so many stars.” Some of them are actually rapidly growing black holes. But they are in the minority, so we don’t know which ones. ” Quasars are so bright that even large amateur telescopes can see them, despite their great distances. If you look a little closer, you’ll see with the naked eye that an object 12 billion light years away is beyond the realms of science fiction. “The fact that this material exists is surprising in itself,” said Wolf’s ANU colleague Brian Schmidt. But beyond a single observation, scientists are looking to find the black material at the center of a quasar. I suspect that Hall grew near the Eddington limit. A proposed upper limit on the mass of a star or accretion disk. However, further research on this incredible cosmic “monster” is needed to see if this is the case.

source: Christian Wolf, The accretion of a solar mass per day by a 17-billion solar mass black hole, Nature Astronomy (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41550-024-02195-x.