This Bright Supermassive Black Hole Eats a Sun Every Two Days

Astronomers at Australian National University have just discovered an enormous black hole that shines. They looked at the quasar named SMSS~J215728.21-360215.1, and in its center, they saw a supermassive black hole that shines brightly. The black hole is about 20 billion times bigger than the Sun and growing at an unbelievable speed – 1% with each passing million years.

If this bright black hole would have been in our galaxy, astronomers say that it would outshine all the stars in the sky. However, it would also make our planet sterile because of the x-rays the quasar emanates.

Christian Wolf, the author of the study, says:

“This black hole is growing so rapidly that it’s shining thousands of times more brightly than an entire galaxy, due to all of the gases it sucks in daily that cause lots of friction and heat.”

It Would Be Ten Times Brighter Than Our Moon

He adds that “if we had this monster sitting at the center 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 almost wash out all of the stars in the sky.”

However, the supermassive black hole is at a distance of 12 billion light-years, meaning that what the astronomers saw happened 12 billion years ago. That would be right after the Big Bang.

What’s making astronomers so curious is that the black hole they saw was in the early days of the universe and they’re wondering how it grew so large.

Wolf explains how they found the bright black hole. They used data from the Gaia satellite, Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and the SkyMapper telescope:

“These large and rapidly-growing blackholes are exceedingly rare, and we have been searching for them with SkyMapper for several months now.”

What’s their next objective?

“The hunt is on to find even faster-growing black holes,” said Wolf.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere

Recommended articles