Monster black hole discovered growing very fast - far, far away

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The mega black hole that is said to be growing faster than any black hole in the universe today was found by scientists from the Australian National University (ANU).

The black hole is also growing at the rate of around one percent every million years and 12 billion years ago, as they are seeing it, the void was about the size of 20 billion of our suns.

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. In fact, the supermassive black hole is so far away that its ultraviolet light red-shifted before it reached our planet and was picked up by the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory.

But it wouldn't much matter, since the oodles of x-rays emanating from this great void would probably make life on Earth impossible.

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

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"That one has a mass of 5 million solar masses - that is 40,000 times less mass than the one that we have now found", Dr Wolf explained.

It sounds odd to describe a black hole as "bright", but astronomers at Australian National University have spotted one so bright that were it in our home galaxy, it would outshine all the stars in the sky and even give the full moon a run for its money.

Hence, it is fortunate for the mankind that the black hole is located far beyond.

This supermassive black hole sits at the center of a quasar known by the catchy name of SMSS~J215728.21-360215.1.

"We're now trying to get demographics on the most extreme black holes that are out there so we can create a complete inventory".

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"We don't have to be afraid of that".

In addition, these fast-growing quasars help clear the fog around transiting objects, "which makes the universe more transparent", said Wolf.

After traveling for more than 12 billion years, the quasar's light was detected by the SkyMapper in the near-infrared spectrum.

"So this means it's far, far away in another galaxy and it will never drift and come over here."

That said, they think improving technology and advanced ground-based telescopes coming over the next decade should be able to leverage black holes like these to understand how our universe has been growing.

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"Maybe this will tell us something insane about the Big Bang that we never dreamt of or thought possible", he said.

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