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Astronomers Find What May Be the Universe's Brightest Object

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    23rd Feb, 2024

Context

Astronomers have discovered what may be the brightest object in the universe, a quasar with a black hole at its heart growing so fast that it swallows the equivalent of a sun a day.

Key-highlights of the findings:

  • Scientists have spotted a quasar powered by the fastest growing black holeever discovered.
    • The black hole powering this distant quasar is more than 17 billion times more immense than sun.
  • The light from the celestial object travelled for more than 12bn years to reach Earth.
  • The record-breaking quasar shines 500 trillion times brighter than sun.
  • Though the quasar resembles a mere dot in images.
  • The rotating disk around the quasar's black hole—the luminous swirling gas and other matter from gobbled-up stars—is like a cosmic hurricane.

J0529-4351

  • The European Southern Observatory spotted the object, J0529-4351, during a 1980 sky survey, but it was thought to be a star.
  • It was not identified as a quasar — the extremely active and luminous core of a galaxy — until last year.
  • The quasar is 12 billion light-years away and has been around since the early days of the universe. A light-year is 5.8 trillion miles.

Important space terms

  • Black Hole: A black hole is formed when stars collapse, leading to a space in the universe with an escape velocity — the speed at which an object must travel to override a planet or an object’s gravitational force. The light cannot go out because the gravity inside a black hole is very strongas a result of a lot of matter being squeezed into a small space.
  • Quasars: Quasars are tremendously active supermassive black holesmillions to billions of times more massive than Sun, usually residing at centers of galaxies. They devour matter drawn to them by their immense gravitational pull and unleash torrents of radiation including jets of high-energy particles, while a glowing disk of matter spins around them.
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