POST Online Media Lite Edition


Astronomers discover largest, brightest black hole yet

Staff writer |
Astronomers have discovered a gigantic black hole at the heart of an ultraluminous quasar in the distant universe.

Article continues below

The newfound cosmic monster is said to be the largest and brightest ever black hole, which dates back to a little more than 6 percent of the universe's current age of 13.8 billion years.

Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe that contain supermassive black holes. Astronomers have reportedly discovered 40 quasars so far, each of then having a black hole about 1 billion times the mass of the sun.

This black hole, technically known as SDSS J010013.02+280225.8, or J0100+2802, is not only the most massive quasar ever seen in the early universe, but is about 429 trillion times brighter than the sun and seven times brighter than the most distant quasar known.

The black hole has a mass about 12 billion times that of the sun, and dates back to when the universe was less than 1 billion years old.

The brightness of the black holes are said to be provided by accretion disks, which are made up of gas and dust that heat up and give off light as it swirl into the black holes.

The largest black holes found so far in the nearby universe have masses more than 10 billion times that of the sun.

Meanwhile, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is said to be having a mass only 4 million to 5 million times that of the sun.

What to read next

Black holes recycle matter and energy
Smallest known galaxy has supermassive black hole
Black hole of puzzling lightness