The black hole is known as J2157 and is more than 12 billion light-years behind in the distant universe. Astronomers are trying to figure out how these huge black holes could evolve in the early days of the universe. Researchers continue to look for more massive black holes like this to understand how they grew.
“It’s the largest black hole to be weighed in this early period of the universe,” said Christopher Onken, lead author of a study and researcher at the School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Australia’s National University. “We see it at a time when the universe was only 1.2 billion years old, less than 10% of its current age.”
Dwarfs the oversized black hole called Sagittarius A * in our own Galaxy.
“The mass of the black hole is about 8,000 times larger than the black hole in the center of the galaxy,” Onken said. “If our galaxy’s black hole wanted to grow that fat, it would have to swallow two-thirds of all of our galaxy’s stars.”
The SkyMapper telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory at the Australian National University was able to detect the black hole from near-infrared light after traveling billions of light years to reach Earth.
Monster of nature
Astronomers have first discovered the black hole J2157 because of its brightness in ultraviolet light. While light cannot escape black holes, this black hole emits X-rays and ultraviolet light due to its enormous appetite.
Astronomers have also defined this particular black hole as the brightest known quasar. Quasars are oversized black holes in galaxies that transmit so much energy to their gaseous disks that appear like stars through telescopes.
“This black hole is growing so fast that it shines thousands of times brighter than an entire galaxy because of all the gases it absorbs every day that cause a lot of friction and heat,” said Christian Wolf, author of 2018 and new studies and associate professor. at the National University of Australia, when the black hole was first discovered two years ago.
“If we had this monster sitting in the center of our galaxy, it would look 10 times brighter than the full moon. It would appear as an incredibly bright star that would take out almost all the stars in the sky.” It is likely to make life on Earth impossible. with the huge amounts of X-rays coming from it. “
The new study monitored the black hole using the European Space Telescope’s very large telescope in Chile to measure its mass.
“We knew we were in a huge black hole when we realized the rapid pace of growth,” said Fuyan Bian, a study author and staff astronomer at the European Southern Observatory, in a statement.
“How many black holes can be swallowed depends on how much mass they already have. So, to devour this matter at such a high rate, we thought it could become a new record holder. And now we know.”
Further study and observation of this black hole will also shed light on the galaxy of its host, which may reveal more information about the early universe and how the huge black holes evolved early on.
“With such a huge black hole, we’re also excited to see what we can learn about the growing galaxy,” Onken said. “Is this galaxy one of the giants of the early universe, or does the black hole swallow its surroundings incredibly? We’ll have to keep digging to figure it out.”