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The fastest-growing black hole eats one Earth of mass every second

Published Jun 16th, 2022 12:53PM EDT
Image: dottedyeti / Adobe

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Black holes are terrifying and now scientists believe they have found the fastest-growing black hole ever. They believe it is the fastest-growing of the past 9 billion years. Additionally, the scientists say it consumes the equivalent of one Earth every second that passes.

Scientists found the fastest-growing black hole in the universe

black hole
Artistic rendering of a black hole in space. Image source: Vadimsadovski/Adobe

Every day scientists are making new discoveries in the universe. And sometimes those discoveries are terrifying. Where the first image of our galaxy’s black hole was exciting, a new discovery related to black holes is just as terrifying. Scientists now say they’ve found the fastest-growing black hole ever. This also follows the recent discovery of a rogue black hole only 5,000 light-years from Earth.

The discovery happened after scientists spotted an extremely bright quasar. That’s a luminous object powered by a supermassive black hole – like the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. They made the discovery using the SkyMapper Southern Sky Survey, a 1.3-meter telescope found in New South Wales.

The object, which they named J114447.77, is said to be 7,000 times brighter than all of the light from the Milky Way. And, the light that we’re seeing from the object has been traveling towards Earth for the last 7 billion years, Dr. Christopher Onken explained. Onken says the fastest-growing black hole is roughly halfway across the universe.

As such, we don’t really need to worry about it just yet. And chances are we never will because of how far away it is.

Unclear reasonings

star black hole
A star being sucked up by a nearby black hole. Image source: European Southern Observatory

The researchers say they haven’t discovered why J1144 is so bright or even how it became the fastest-growing black hole. Onken says that it could be the result of two massive galaxies colliding. That would have funneled a lot of gas towards the black hole, allowing it to grow quickly. However, they can’t confirm that just yet.

These massive cosmic entities like this black hole have been searched for since the 1960s, Onken says. And so far, over 800,000 of these massive entities have been discovered and documented. But this is the fastest-growing black hole that humanity has ever discovered.

Another remarkable thing about this discovery is that an entity so massive and bright has managed to escape observations until now. It’s unclear if we’ll ever know the true reasoning behind how this particular black hole grew so large. For now, though, we can at least observe it from the relative safety of our half of the universe.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.