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Fastest-Growing Black Hole Gulps a Sun Every 2 Days

Fastest-Growing Black Hole Gulps a Sun Every 2 Days

Black holes engulf nearby stars and distort surrounding space. (Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 16 May 2018 09:30 AM

The fastest-growing black hole ever discovered gulped the equivalent of our sun every two days and emitted huge amounts of x-rays that would have made life impossible on Earth, even if the space cave-in was located as far away as the center of our Milky Way galaxy, Space.com reported.

Luckily, this black hole is too old and too far away to affect Earth, but that doesn’t make its discovery any less remarkable.

("A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing -- not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light -- can escape from inside it," per Wikipedia.)

Researchers said this particular black hole likely released its light about 12 billion years ago, when the phenomenon was about the size of 20 billion suns and was growing by one per cent every million years.

"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," said Dr Wolf from the Australian National University Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

If the black hole were located at the center of the Milky Way, it would appear as a bright pin-point star in the sky about 10 times brighter than a full moon.

In fact, the light emitted would be so bright that it would wash out almost all the stars in the sky, Wolf said.

Though this particular black hole poses no threat to Earth, astronomers believe there could be more than 10,000 other black holes sitting at the center of the Milky Way. They are nowhere near as big, or at least not the ones discovered so far.

The energy emitted from the newly discovered black hole was mostly ultraviolet, but it also radiated massive amounts of x-rays that would prevent life on Earth from surviving.

The supermassive black hole was initially found by the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory, which detected its light as near-infrared, with the help of The European Space Agency's Gaia satellite. The black hole was then confirmed through the spectrograph on the ANU 2.3 meter telescope that can split colors into spectral lines.

The discovery could help astronomers learn about the formation of early galaxies, Wolf said.

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The fastest-growing black hole ever discovered gulped the equivalent of our sun every two days and emitted huge amounts of x-rays that would have made life impossible on Earth, even if the space cave-in was located as far away as the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
fast-growing, black hole
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2018-30-16
Wednesday, 16 May 2018 09:30 AM
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