Chinese scientists have discovered a black hole 12 billion times bigger than our sun. The supermassive black hole is also around 900 million years old. This particular supermassive black hole is the largest black hole ever observed by man. The results of this discovery were published in the journal Nature.
A black hole forms when a star collapses onto itself and creates a very dense spot, which nothing can escape it, not even light.
The team of scientists that made the discovery was led by researchers from the Peking University in China and joining them were researchers from the University of Arizona. Together, they named the supermassive black hole SDSS J010013.02 after one of the scientists’ grandmother and it is six times larger than the biggest known black hole.
The researchers stated that the existence of these supermassive black holes when the Universe was quite young, less than one billion years old, presents challenges to theories of the growth and formation of black holes and the evolution of galaxies and black holes, together.
Xue-Bing Wu, lead researcher from the Peking University, spotted the black hole using a telescope in Yunnan and managed to study it with various other telescopes from around the world.
The University of Arizona released a statement in which they said that the black hole that was discovered powered the brightest quasar of the early universe. A quasar is, as NASA defines it:
The brilliant beacons of light that are powered by black holes feasting on captured material, and in the process, heating some of the matter to millions of degrees.
One of the team members from the Australian National University, Fuyun Bian, stated that the light coming from a quasar was thought to push back material behind it and thus limit the growth of black holes, but the discovery of this supermassive black hole 12 billion times bigger than our sun and the quasar at its center has gained lots of mass in a very short period of time.
Chris Willott, another researcher who took part in the discovery of the supermassive black hole said that a possible explanation for the formation of this black hole would be that a very large gas cloud collapsed onto itself, instead of a single star.
Lead researcher Wu said that this quasar is very unique and that its still glowing light will help people learn more about the early Universe.
Image Source: Space-Sky