Astronomers discover the brightest object in the Universe: it is 500 trillion times larger than the Sun

By SSPDailyMar 16, 2024 13:04 PMPersonal Development
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Astronomers discover the brightest object in the Universe
Astronomers discover the brightest object in the Universe. Source: www.fox9.com

Australian scientists have discovered the brightest object in the Universe - a quasar powered by a black hole that absorbs the equivalent of the Sun in a day. SSPDaily tells about it.

The Guardian writes about it.

The light of the celestial object, which is 500 trillion times brighter than our Sun, has traveled for more than 12 billion years to reach the Earth. Its mass is about 17 billion times that of the Sun.

Scientists at the Australian National University first spotted it using a 2.3-meter telescope at the University's Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales' Coonabarabran. They then confirmed the discovery using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) very large telescope with an 8-meter diameter main mirror.

The results of the ANU researchers, in collaboration with ESO, the University of Melbourne and the French Sorbonne University, were published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Lead author and ANU associate professor Christian Wolf said it is the brightest known object in the universe, and that its incredible growth rate means "a huge release of light and heat" - and that he doubts its record will ever be broken.

The light is emitted by an "accretion disk" seven light-years in diameter. In this disk, material is drawn into the black hole and orbits it before crossing the event horizon.

When this material collides with other material, it creates enormous amounts of light and heat.

"It's like a giant magnetic storm cell with temperatures of 10,000 degrees Celsius, lightning everywhere, and wind blowing so fast it could circle the Earth in a second," Wolf said. "This storm cell is seven light-years across, which is 50% more than the distance from our solar system to the next star in the galaxy, Alpha Centauri."

Co-author Dr. Christopher Onken said it was surprising that it had gone undetected for so long and was "hiding in plain sight."

Wolf added that he had two different feelings about the discovery.

"One part is a little bit of shock and awe when we imagine this hellish place... We imagine these conditions and that nature is really creating something even more extreme than we had previously anticipated," he said. "The other one is a bit of daring joy - we found it! Nature doesn't make it easy, that's the feeling: "Oh, there you are!"

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