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Superquasar: Researchers have discovered the most voracious black hole

Superquasar: Researchers have discovered the most voracious black hole

Sciences black holes

Discovering the hungriest monster in the universe

This artist's image shows the record-breaking quasar J059-4351, the bright core of a distant galaxy powered by a supermassive black hole.  Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, this quasar was found to be the brightest object known in the universe to date.  The supermassive black hole, seen here sucking in surrounding matter, has a mass of 17 billion times the mass of the Sun and is growing in mass by the equivalent of another Sun every day, making it the fastest-growing black hole ever. This artist's image shows the record-breaking quasar J059-4351, the bright core of a distant galaxy powered by a supermassive black hole.  Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, this quasar was found to be the brightest object known in the universe to date.  The supermassive black hole, seen here sucking in surrounding matter, has a mass of 17 billion times the mass of the Sun and is growing in mass by the equivalent of another Sun every day, making it the fastest-growing black hole ever.

Artist's impression of quasar J059-4351

Source: ESO/M. Grain knife

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Decades ago, a point of light in the sky was recorded with telescopes and classified as a regular star. Now it turns out that this object is not a star, but a black hole – the smartest and most voracious one yet.

DrIn 1963, Dutch physicist Martin Schmidt discovered the first of the mysterious celestial objects now known as quasars. Although they are very far from us in the universe, their brightness in the sky is comparable to the brightness of individual stars. It immediately follows that quasars emit much more energy than stars. So they cannot be stars under any circumstances.

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So far, scientists have discovered about a million quasars and explained the mechanism by which these stars produce huge amounts of energy. Quasars are the “active nuclei” of a galaxy. This is a massive black hole that is constantly absorbing and devouring the matter surrounding it. This creates a rapidly rotating disk (accretion disk) around the black hole, which heats up strongly and emits radiation in almost all wavelength ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum – including radio waves and X-rays.

The region from which the radiation is emitted is so small that the quasars appear as a point of the Earth – as is the case with all stars (except the Sun). The name Quasar is derived from the English description “quasar radio source”. It can be translated as a star-like radio source.

This quasar eats one sun per day

Scientists are now reporting the discovery of a record-breaking quasar in the journal Natural Astronomy. Quasar J0529-4351, which is twelve billion light-years from Earth, emits more energy than all previously known quasars. Astronomer Christian Wolff from the Space Center says: “As far as we know today, we have discovered the fastest growing black hole in the universe.” Australian National University (Ano). He is the lead author of the study: “J0529-4351 has a mass 17 billion times greater than that of our Sun and eats additional solar mass every day. This quasar is the brightest object in the known universe to date.

“All the light is emitted from a hot accretion disk about seven light-years in diameter,” explains co-author Samuel Lai of the Australian National University. This corresponds to about 15,000 times the distance from the Sun and planet Neptune, yet the glowing disk of J0529-4351 appears only as a dot to ground-based measuring instruments.

From the measurement data, the researchers were able to determine that J0529-4351 has a radiation output of 2 x 10 at a power of 41 watts. With such a huge number of 41 digits, all imagination fails. The comparison with the Sun might be a little clearer. J0529-4351 is 500 trillion times brighter than our central star.

However, researchers have long ignored the brightest object in the universe. In retrospect, it can be said that the celestial body now identified as a quasar was discovered by telescopes 40 years ago. However, in automated data analysis, this point of light was previously interpreted as a regular star with a similarly smaller distance from Earth.

Telescopes in Chile and Australia

This is a beautiful example of the limits of artificial intelligence. AI systems can only rely on the knowledge they have been fed previously. There was no example in the database of a quasar radiating as much energy as J0529-4351. So the machine couldn't come up with the idea that this was a quasar.

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The undated publication shows an image of two merging black holes.  Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics Potsdam, in cooperation with the European Space Agency ESA, want to use three special satellites to detect black holes and binary and neutron star systems indirectly via gravitational waves from 2022. Image: AEI/Benger/ZIB (only for use In current reports on the press conference of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics on December 22, 2011) (report by the German news agency BRB

Thanks to precise individual measurements using telescopes of different wavelength ranges and “manual” evaluation, scientists were able to eliminate the error: J0529-4351 is not a star, but a quasar – the brightest and hungriest star we know of so far. The 2.3 meter diameter telescope contained the measurement data Spring bias observatory In Australia in addition to the X-Shooter Spectrograph Very large telescope the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in the Chilean Atacama Desert. By studying supermassive holes dating back to when the universe was still young, scientists hope to gain insights into how these holes and the galaxies they harbor evolved.

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