A team of researchers led by The Australian National University has determined just how massive the fastest-growing black hole in the Universe is. The team is also determined how much material the black was consuming. According to the scientists, the gigantic black hole is 34 billion times the mass of our Sun and eats approximately the equivalent of one Sun every day.
Scientists say that the black hole’s mass is about 8000 times larger than the mass of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. For the Milky Way’s black hole to grow as large, it would have to consume two-thirds of all the stars in our galaxy. The giant black hole is known as J2157 and was discovered by researchers in 2018.
The scientists see the black hole at a time when the Universe was only 1.2 billion years old or less than 10% of its current age. It’s the biggest black hole that has been weighed in this early period of the Universe. It’s a mystery how the black hole grew so big early in the life of the Universe, but the researchers are searching for more black holes to provide new clues.
Researchers say that they knew they were onto a very massive black hole when they determine its fast growth rate. How much black holes can consume depends on how much mass they already have. J2157 was measured by a team including researchers from the University of Arizona using the ESO Very Large Telescope in Chile.
The team is also excited to learn what they can about the galaxy where the black hole is growing. The group wants to determine if the galaxy was a giant of the early Universe or if the black hole consumed an extraordinary amount of its surroundings.