Science

Black Hole 12 Billion Times Bigger Than Sun Discovered

It was formed after the end of the “epoch of reionisation,” a transformative era that created the star-filled universe

An international team of astronomers has discovered the biggest black hole that is 12 billion times larger than our sun. It powers the “brightest lighthouse in the universe,” said scientists. It emits 420 trillion times more light than our sun. The extraordinary object was found at the center of a quasar, a powerful galactic radiation source.

Black Hole 12 Billion Times Bigger Than Sun Discovered

Scientists surprised at the quick formation of the black hole

Quasars were first discovered in 1963, but their nature remained a mystery for years. Today, astronomers believe that quasars are formed by matter heating up when it is dragged into supermassive black holes. It was the brightest quasar ever detected in the early universe. The newly discovered black hole, named SDSS J0100+2802, is 12.8 billion light years away from the Earth. It was formed only 900 million years after the universe was born.

Scientists are surprised how such a giant black hole could have formed in such an early stage of cosmic history. It is much bigger than scientists expected. The black hole got its enormous size just 900 million years after the Big Bang. It contradicts the usual belief that black holes grow in size as they age and swallow other stars surrounding them.

Dr Fuyan Bian of the Australian National University said formation of such a huge black hole so quickly was hard to interpret with current theories. The quasar was detected when astronomers led by Professor Xue-Bing Wu of Peking University were conducting a survey of distant luminous objects using data from telescopes around the world.

Did this black hole grow faster than its host galaxy?

It was formed after the end of the “epoch of reionisation,” a transformative era that created the star-filled universe we see today. Xue-Bing Wu said the study suggests that, in the early universe, quasar black holes might have grown faster than their host galaxies. However, he added that more research was needed to confirm this idea.

So far, astronomers have discovered more than 200,000 quasars. But they are so far away that they look extremely faint despite their high luminosity.

Findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.

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