This black hole devours nearly one Sun in a day

James Marshall
July 3, 2020

The largest black hole known to astronomers is Abell 85, which has a mass 40 billion times that of our sun.

In order for Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, to reach a similar size, it would have had to gobble two-thirds of all the stars in the galaxy. And, to top it off, it eats the equivalent of one sun - every day.

This black hole was discovered back in 2018 and is located in the centre of a galaxy called SMSS J215728.21-360215.1 (J2157 for short), which is billions of light-years away from us.

"The black hole's mass is also about 8,000 times bigger than the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way", said astronomer Christopher Onken of Australian National University in Australia.

"How significantly black holes can swallow relies upon on how significantly mass they now have", spelled out staff member Fuyan Bian of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Now, the team has calculated exactly how massive J2157 is using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile. "And now we know". The researchers already knew they were dealing with a black hole of epic proportions, but the final results surprised everyone. This artwork is based on an image of the Pinwheel Galaxy snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope.This gallery was originally published June 24, 2019 and will be updated with new black hole discoveries.

Luckily enough for us, the J2157 black hole is billions of light-years away from Earth, so we can stay calm and not worry about it. But this also means that astronomers are measuring J2157's gravitational influence as it appeared in the distant past when the universe was still very young.

"We're seeing it at a time when the universe was only 1.2 billion years old, less than 10 percent of its current age", Dr. Onken said.

Black holes still provide some of the biggest mysteries - and superlatives - in existence. According to them, it is the biggest black hole from the early universe to be weighed. How a black hole could mature so significant at this sort of an early interval in the record of the universe is a single of the additional intriguing mysteries the group ideas to pursue.

Christian Wolf, who discovered the black hole, said, "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". "We are going to have to retain digging to determine that out". Their success appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Culture.

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