Black hole that is 12 billion times bigger than the sun discovered by Scientists

February 26, 2015 11:27 am
supermassive black hole quasar

New physics are needed to explain an ancient supermassive black hole quasar 12 billion times the mass of the Sun (Source: NASA/Caltech)

Researchers
in China have spotted a supermassive black hole, 12 billion times the
size of the sun and around 900 million years old.

The black hole is larger than any of its age previously seen, the journal “Nature” reports.
A
black hole is a dense region of space that has collapsed in on itself
in a way that means nothing can escape it, not even light.
Releasing their findings in “Nature,”
researchers led by teams from China’s Peking University and the
University of Arizona said the black hole — named SDSS J010013.02 —
was six times larger than its biggest known contemporaries.
“The
existence of such black holes when the Universe was less than one
billion years old presents substantial challenges to theories of the
formation and growth of black holes and the co-evolution of black holes
and galaxies,” they said.
“Nature”
reported that lead researcher Xue-Bing Wu of Peking University and his
colleagues first sighted the black hole using a telescope in Yunnan,
China, and used additional telescopes around the world to examine it.

Bright quasar

In a media release, the University of Arizona said that the black hole powered “the brightest quasar of the early universe.” NASA describes quasars
as “the brilliant beacons of light that are powered by black holes
feasting on captured material, and in the process, heating some of the
matter to millions of degrees.”
Team
member Fuyun Bian, from the Australian National University, said that
the light from a quasar was thought to push back material behind it and
limit the growth of black holes.
“However this black hole at the center of the quasar gained enormous mass in a short period of time,” Bian said.
Another
researcher, Chris Willott, told “Nature” that a possible explanation
could be that some black holes were formed by the collapse of a very
large gas cloud — rather than that of a single star.
“We are still very uncertain as to the modes of black-hole formation and growth in the early Universe,” he told the journal.
Writing in “Nature,” astronomer
Bram Venemans explains: “Theoretically, it is not implausible to find a
black hole of more than 10 billion solar masses within 1 billion years
after the Big Bang. But it is still surprising to uncover such a massive
black hole in the early Universe.”
“This
quasar is very unique,” the University of Arizona quoted lead
researcher Wu as saying. “Just like the brightest lighthouse in the
distant universe, its glowing light will help us to probe more about the
early Universe.”
The discovery of a supermassive black hole from the early cosmos is set to rewrite physics, say scientists.

An international team of astronomers detected a black hole 12 billion
times the mass of our Sun, they report today in the journal Nature .
The black hole, which formed just 900 million years after the Big
Bang, is the source of a powerful beam of bright material known as a
quasar.
“When we found this supermassive black hole we got very excited
because we had found something that we never thought we could find,”
says Dr Fuyan Bian of the Australian National University.
The team, led by Xue-Bing Wu at Peking University, discovered the
black hole and quasar — known as SDSS JO100+2802 — using the Sloan
Digital Sky Survey, then followed up with three other telescopes.
With a luminosity of 420 trillion that of our Sun’s, the new quasar is seven times brighter than the most distant quasar known.
“This quasar is very unique. Just like the brightest lighthouse in
the distant universe, its glowing light will help us probe more about
the early Universe,” says Wu.

Challenging physics

But the
discovery of the supermassive black hole powering the quasar presents a
mystery: how can such a monster black hole grow so quickly in the early
Universe?
“It’s very hard to make these kinds of supermassive black holes very early in the universe,” says Bian.
“We need to find some new theory that can grow the supermassive black hole much faster than we thought.”
Supermassive black holes are believed to have formed in conjunction
with galaxies in the early Universe but according to current theories
there must be a careful balancing of forces to build a black hole.
As material accelerates under the force of gravity towards a black
hole, it heats up, emitting an extraordinary amount of energy in the
form of a quasar.
But the energy of the quasar actually pushes material away from the
black hole so if it is too great it can stop material falling onto to
the black hole altogether.
These forces must be balanced, which limits how fast a black hole can
grow. This fact, combined with the small amount of matter available in
the early Universe in the first place, make it hard for scientists to
explain how the supermassive black hole came into existence.
“With this supermassive black hole, very early in the Universe, that theory cannot work,” says Bian.
“It’s time for a new hypothesis and for some new physics.”

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