Astronomers have found the fastest-growing black hole ever seen in the universe, and they’re calling this one a monster with an appetite. It’s growing so fast it can devour a mass the size of the sun every two days.
Researchers at Australian National University first discovered this supermassive black hole, also known as a quasar, when data from a telescope called the SkyMapper flagged it as an object of potential interest. Then they used data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite to determine how far away it was. They found that it took more than 12 billion years for the light from this massive black hole to reach Earth. It’s the brightest quasar that can be seen in visual or ultraviolet light.
“The heat radiation from the matter falling into the black hole, which is the light we see, is a few thousand times brighter than our own Milky Way galaxy,” Christian Wolf, the lead researcher on the university’s team of astronomers, wrote in an email to CNN.
The discovery of this massive black hole calls the existing science about black holes into question. Black holes have a speed limit that determines how fast they grow, which is proportional to their mass.