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Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space
15 May 2018, 08:25 | Justin Tyler
A monster black hole has been discovered, and it's growing very fast (but it's far, far away)
However, the researcher also noted that humans would not have been around to see that pin-point in that case, because the X-rays emanating out from the monster would have meant the end of all life on Earth.
Astronomers at the Australian National University (ANU), led by Dr Christian Wolf of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, found the fastest-growing black hole known in the universe by looking back more than 12 billion years to what they call "the early dark ages of the universe".
A "supermassive" black hole swallowing up the mass of our sun every two days has been found by Australian astronomers. It's estimated to have the mass of about 20 billion times that of the Sun, and is growing extremely fast, at a rate of one percent every million years.
Astronomers are not yet sure how this black hole grew so large, so quickly in the early days of the universe. Wolf said that the super-huge black holes could be used like beacons for seeing and studying the evolution of objects in the "early galaxies of the universe" due to their shine. It measures tiny movements in deep-space celestial objects and was able to determine that the object discovered by the team at ANU was sitting still and is likely to be a supermassive black hole.
Hence, it is fortunate for the mankind that the black hole is located far beyond.
If black holes were already a total mystery to scientists, they now face a much greater mystery.
The discovery was then confirmed using a spectrograph at the university's Siding Spring Observatory 2.3 metre telescope. The studied black hole reportedly draws off light of large amounts thereby outshining the entire galaxy.
"If we had this monster sitting at the centre 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 that would nearly wash out all of the stars in the sky". Wolf said that with the expansion of the Universe, space gets expanded, which stretches the waves of light and transforms their color.
At the same time, the rare quasar could shed more light - quite literally, as it shines bright enough to make nearby objects visible, notes ANU - into how elements are formed in the universe's oldest galaxies.
"What's really important in this business is how to actually find the most massive ones because they are the hardest ones to explain", he told ABC News Australia. "It is very far away", he says.
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