The black hole is known as J2157 and exists more than 12 billion light years back in the distant universe. Astronomers are trying to understand how such massive black holes could develop in the early days of the universe. Researchers continue to look for more massive black holes like this to understand how they grew.
“It is the largest black hole weighed in this early stage of the universe,”
It overshadows the supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A * in our own Milky Way.
“The mass of the black hole is about 8,000 times larger than that of the black hole in the middle of the Milky Way,” said Onken. “If the black hole in the Milky Way wanted this fat to grow, it would have to swallow two thirds of all the stars in our galaxy.”
The SkyMapper telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory at the Australian National University was able to detect the black hole from its near infrared light after it had traveled billions of light years to reach us on Earth.
Monster power of nature
Astronomers first discovered black hole J2157 because of its brightness in ultraviolet light. While light cannot escape from black holes, this black hole emits X-rays and ultraviolet light, which are created due to its enormous appetite.
Astronomers have also defined this particular black hole as the most luminous quasar known. Quasars are super-massive black holes in galaxies that release so much energy through their gas disks that they appear like stars through telescopes.
“This black hole is growing so fast that it shines thousands of times brighter than an entire galaxy due to all the gases it sucks in every day that cause a lot of friction and heat,” said Christian Wolf, author of 2018 and new studies and extraordinary Professor at the Australian National University when the black hole was first discovered two years ago.
“If we had this monster in the middle of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear ten times brighter than a full moon. It would appear as an incredibly bright star that would wash out almost all of the stars in the sky. It would probably make life on Earth impossible if huge Amounts of x-rays emanating from it. “
The new study tracked the black hole with the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile to measure its mass.
“We knew we were on a very massive black hole when we saw its rapid growth rate,” said Fuyan Bian, co-author and astronomer at the European Southern Observatory, in a statement.
“How much black holes can swallow depends on how much mass they already have. In order for this matter to swallow up so quickly, we thought it could become a new record holder. And now we know it.”
Further studies and observations of this black hole will also shed light on its host galaxy, which may provide more information about the early universe and the early development of massive black holes.
“With such a huge black hole, we’re excited to see what we can learn about the galaxy in which it grows,” said Onken. “Is this galaxy one of the giants of the early universe, or has the black hole just swallowed up an extraordinary amount of its surroundings? We have to dig further to find out.”