Black holes are the gluttons of the cosmos, devouring everything that veers too close — including light itself. Now, an international team of researchers says they have discovered a supermassive black hole that gobbles up the equivalent of one Earth every second.
Who Discovered This Black Hole?
The discovery was made by an international team led by the astronomers at The Australian National University (ANU), who released details about its finding on their website.
The object – J114447.77-430859.3, or J1144 for short – is 7,000 times more luminous than all the light from the Milky Way and 500 times larger than the supermassive black hole at the center of our own galaxy. According to astronomers, it consumes the mass of about one Earth every second.
In Comparison With Our Solar System
“The orbits of the planets in our solar system would all fit inside its even horizon- the black hole boundary from which nothing can escape.” Co-author and ANU Ph.D. researcher Samuel Lai said.
Why Has Something So Large Not Been Discovered Before?
“People have been looking for these growing black holes since the early 1960s,” the lead researcher Dr. Christopher Onken, of the Australian National University, said, adding that around 880,000 of them had been discovered and cataloged to date. “The fact that something so bright has escaped the many, many searches that have been conducted over the years is quite remarkable.”
How Far Is It From Us?
The supermassive black hole is “more or less halfway across the universe” Dr. Christopher Onken said.
“We are fairly confident this record will not be broken. As we have essentially run out of the sky where objects like this could be hiding.” Said Christian Wolf- the Associate Professor at ANU.