Even black holes get hungry.
Astronomers have just discovered a black hole that’s growing faster than any other black hole yet found in the universe.
If the sun were to fall into this incredibly dense cosmic object, it would only take two days for the black hole to devour it, the scientists behind the new discovery have said.
The supermassive black hole — which is located billions of light-years away — is thought to be the mass of 20 billion suns and grows by about 1 percent every 1 million years, according to the new study detailing the discovery of the black hole.
“This black hole is growing so rapidly that it’s shining thousands of times more brightly than an entire galaxy, due to all of the gases it sucks in daily that cause lots of friction and heat,” astronomer Christian Wolf, lead author of the new study, said in a statement.
“If we had this monster sitting at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon. It would appear as an incredibly bright pinpoint star that would almost wash out all of the stars in the sky.”
That said, we probably wouldn’t be around to see that very different night sky.
If this shining, feeding black hole, also called a quasar, were at the center of our Milky Way, it would likely make Earth uninhabitable due to the X-rays emitted by it, Wolf added in the Australian National University statement.
“These large and rapidly-growing blackholes are exceedingly rare, and we have been searching for them with SkyMapper for several months now,” Wolf added.
“The European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, which measures tiny motions of celestial objects, helped us find this supermassive black hole.”
Now scientists are on the hunt for another black hole that might beat out this black hole’s appetite and give them a glimpse into the inner workings of the universe only a few billion years after it formed.