Astroboffins spy the most greedy black hole yet gobbling a Sun a day

  |   Tech News

Astronomers have spotted the greediest supermassive black hole going through the fastest growth spurt some 12 billion years ago. The humongous hole, codenamed QSO SMSS J215728.21-360215.1, is the staggering size of about 20 billion suns, and grows at a rate of 200 million suns over a million years. It has a voracious appetite and gobbles a mass equivalent to twice that of our Sun every two days to sustain itself.

"If we had this monster sitting at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon. It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would almost wash out all of the stars in the sky," said Christian Wolf, lead author of the study and a researcher from the Australian National University.

The energy comes from the accretion disk. It’s a plate of gas and dust swirling around the supermassive black hole that will eventually get devoured. As the material spirals inwards during the feeding process, gravitational and frictional forces heat the accretion disk to temperatures hot enough, where it starts to emit electromagnetic radiation.

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