April 18, 2024


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The study says that the brightest object in the universe is a quasar fueled by a massive black hole

Astronomers have identified what could be the brightest and most luminous object in the universe, a quasar that emits light 500 trillion times stronger than our Sun.

Quasars are dazzling swirls of fast-moving, ultra-hot gas produced by giant black holes, and this particular quasar is driven by the fastest-growing black hole known to humans, which is devouring the equivalent of one sun per day, according to the… European Southern Observatory.

What's more, this remarkable object had been “hiding in plain sight” for decades before it was discovered. The observatory saidAdding that it was Very bright It was initially classified as a star not very far from Earth.

In fact, the quasar, called J0529-4351, is so distant, its light took more than 12 billion years to reach us, and its mass is 17 billion times that of the Sun. “Quasars are still rare objects, so any time we find one, they're like gems in a lot of dirt that we turn over,” says Christian Wolff, a professor at the Australian National University and lead author of the book. the studythat was published In Natural Astronomy on Monday, in an email.

Studying quasars is important because “most large galaxies contain a massive black hole at their center, and this has affected the evolution of their host galaxies,” Wolf wrote, adding that such research would be able to advance our understanding of galaxy expansion. The universe in the future.

The name “quasar” is a reference to the star-like properties of the object, and stands for a quasar radio source.

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Astronomers have discovered a shockingly ancient black hole the size of 12 billion suns

Wolf said that the light emanating from this quasar is 20,000 times stronger than the light of the Milky Way. So intense, that if the object were placed at the center of the Milky Way, it would never turn night again on Earth. “Even as the sun sets, there will be twilight,” he said.

While a quasar can look beautiful and dream-like in an artist's impression, Wolf likens the object to “a giant tornado with a black hole in the eye of the storm,” or “The largest hell gates we have found anywhere in the universe,” due to the size of its accretion disk — that is, the matter being pulled toward the black hole.

“We have to assume that this quasar is the most intense place we know of in the universe, because the visible accretion disk is 7 light-years across,” he said in his email. This means you can expect scorching temperatures, powerful magnetic fields, wind speeds of thousands of miles per second blasting across the outer rim, and “cosmic-sized lightning bolts shooting everywhere.”

Martin Schmidt, the astronomer who explained quasars, has died at the age of 92

However, Wolf has reassuring words for anyone nervous about such a massive black hole. “Not only is the monster far away, but its light has traveled more than 12 billion years to reach us. This also means that the black hole stopped growing a long time ago.

Wolf, who It has been described He added that his work searching for quasars is like a “treasure hunt,” and added that the discovery of this particular quasar put a “big smile” on his face, and fueled him with “a sense of amazement that extreme things like this exist.”

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