The brightest quasar ever seen eats a ‘sun’ every day| Trending Viral hub

The quasar, as bright as 500 trillion suns, has eluded astronomers for more than 40 years due to its incredible luminosity.

Bright core of a distant galaxy illuminated by a supermassive black hole.

An artist’s impression of the record-breaking quasar J059-4351, the bright core of a distant galaxy illuminated by a supermassive black hole. This black hole has a mass 17 billion times that of our sun and consumes all of the sun’s mass of material per day.

A newly discovered quasar is a real record-breaker. Not only is it the brightest quasar ever seen, but it is also the brightest astronomical object ever seen overall. It’s also powered by the hungriest, fastest-growing black hole ever seen: one that consumes the equivalent of more than the mass of a sun a day.

He quasar, J0529-4351, is located so far from Earth that its light has taken 12 billion years to reach us, meaning it looks as it did when the 13.8 billion-year-old universe was just under 2 billion years.

He supermassive black hole At the heart of the quasar it is estimated to be between 17 billion and 19 billion times the mass of the sun; Each year, it eats or “accumulates” gas and dust equivalent to 370 solar masses. This makes J0529-4351 so luminous that if it were placed next to the Sun, it would be 500 billion times brighter than our bright star.

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“We have discovered the fastest growing black hole known to date. It has a mass of 17 billion suns and devours just over one sun per day,” explained Christian Wolf, team leader and astronomer at the Australian National University. . said in a statement. “This makes it the most luminous object in the known universe.”

J0529-4351 was detected in data more than 4 decades ago, but it was so bright that astronomers failed to identify it as a quasar.

How a quasar fooled astronomers for 44 years

Quasars are regions in the hearts of galaxies that host supermassive black holes surrounded by the gas and dust that these voids feed on. The violent conditions in the disks of matter around these active black holes, called accretion disks and generated by the immense gravity of objects, they heat the gas and dust and make it glow brightly.

Additionally, any matter in these disks that is not accumulated by a black hole is funneled toward the poles of the cosmic titan, where it is ejected as a particle jet at almost the speed of light, also generating powerful light. As a result, the quasars in these Active galactic nuclei (AGN) regions can shine brighter than the combined light of billions of stars in the galaxies surrounding them.

But even in these exceptionally bright events, J0529-4351 stands out.

The light from J0529-4351 comes from the huge accretion disk that feeds the supermassive black hole, which the team estimates has a diameter of around 7 light years. That means that crossing this accretion disk would be equivalent to traveling between the Earth and the Sun about 45,000 times.

“It is a surprise that it has remained unknown until today, when we already know about a million less impressive quasars. It has literally been staring us in the face until now,” Christopher Onken, a member of the team and a scientist at the University, said in the report. Australian National. statement.

J0529-4351 was initially detected in the Schmidt Southern Sky Survey, dating back to 1980, but it took decades to confirm that it was a quasar to begin with. Large astronomical surveys provide so much data that astronomers need machine learning models to analyze it and separate quasars from other celestial objects.

These models are also trained using currently discovered objects, meaning they can miss candidates with exceptional properties like J0529-4351. In fact, this quasar is so bright that models missed it, believing it to be a star located relatively close to Earth.

This misclassification was detected in 2023, when astronomers realized that J0529-4351 is, in fact, a quasar after observing the object’s region using the 2.3-meter telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

The new discovery that this is actually the brightest quasar ever was made when the X-shooter spectrograph instrument in the Very large telescope (VLT) in the Atacama Desert region of northern Chile tracked J0529-4351.

Astronomers aren’t done with J0529-4351 yet.

The team believes that the supermassive black hole at the heart of this quasar is feeding near the eddington limitor the point at which the radiation it emits should expel gas and dust, cutting off the cosmic pantry of this black hole.

Confirming this will require further investigation. Fortunately, however, the greedy supermassive black hole is the perfect target for an enhanced GRAVITY+ instrument on the VLT, which will improve high-contrast precision in bright objects.

J0529-4351 will also be investigated by the next Extremely large telescope (ELT), currently under construction in the Atacama Desert.

However, it is the thrill of finding something new and exciting that drives the leader of the team behind this record-breaking discovery.

“Personally, I just like hunting. For a few minutes a day I feel like a kid again, playing scavenger hunt, and now I put on the table everything I’ve learned since then,” Wolf concludes.

The team’s research was published Monday (February 19) in the journal. Nature astronomy.

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