Brightest and fastest growing: Astronomers identify record-breaking quasar

This artist’s impression shows the record-breaking quasar J059-4351, the bright center of a distant galaxy powered by a supermassive black hole. Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, this quasar is the most luminous object ever observed in the universe. The supermassive black hole, seen here pulling in surrounding matter, has a mass 17 billion times that of the Sun and is growing as massive as the other Sun every day, making it the most massive black hole ever. is the fastest growing black hole. Credit: ESO/M Kornmesser

Using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have characterized a bright quasar, making it not only the brightest of its kind, but also the largest ever observed. It is also described as something shiny. Quasars are the bright cores of distant galaxies, and massive black holes power them.

The black hole in this record-breaking quasar is growing at the rate of one Sun per day, making it the fastest growing black hole ever.

The quasars that power black holes gather matter from their surroundings in an energetic process that emits enormous amounts of light. So much so that quasars are some of the brightest objects in our sky, meaning that even distant objects are visible from Earth. In general, the most luminous quasars indicate the fastest growing massive black holes.

“We have discovered the fastest growing black hole to date. It has a mass of 17 billion suns and eats only one sun per day,” says Christian Wolff, an astronomer. at the Australian National University (ANU) and lead author of the study published Nature Astronomy. The quasar, called J0529-4351, is so far from Earth that it took 12 billion years for its light to reach us.

This video takes us on a journey from our Milky Way to the bright center of a distant galaxy in the sky, quasar J0529-4351, in the direction of the constellation Pictor. Credit: ESO/N Risinger (skysurvey.org)/Digitized Sky Survey 2/Dark Energy Survey/M. Kornmesser. Music: Astral Electronic

The material being pulled toward the black hole ejects so much energy in a disk that J0529-4351 is 500 trillion times brighter than the Sun. “All this light comes from a hot accretion disk seven light-years in diameter—it must be the largest accretion disk in the universe,” says ANUP Ph.D. student and co-author Samuel Lai. Seven light years is about 15,000 times the distance from the Sun to Neptune’s orbit.

Remarkably, this record-breaking quasar was hidden in plain sight. “It’s surprising that it’s still unknown when we already know about a million less impressive quasars. It’s been staring us in the face until now,” said Christopher Onkin, an astronomer at ANU. say The object appeared in images from the 1980 ESO Schmidt Southern Sky Survey, but was not recognized as a kosher until decades later, he added.

Finding quasars requires precise observational data from large areas of the sky. The resulting datasets are so large that researchers often use To analyze and explain them Apart from other celestial objects.

However, these models are trained on existing data, which limits the potential candidates to those that are already known. If a new quasar is brighter than any previously seen, the program may reject it and instead classify it as a star not too far from Earth.

Credit: IT

An automated analysis of data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite passed over J0529-4351 because it is too bright to be a quasar, suggesting it to be a star instead. Researchers identified it as a distant quasar last year using observations from the ANU 2.3-meter telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

However, discovering that it is the brightest quasar ever observed required measurements with a larger telescope and a more precise instrument. The X-Shooter Spectrograph on ESO’s VLT in Chile’s Atacama Desert provided important data.

The fastest growing black hole ever discovered would also be an excellent target for the GRAVITY+ upgrade to ESO’s VLT Interferometer (VLTI), which is designed to accurately measure the mass of black holes. including far from Earth. Additionally, ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), a 39-meter telescope under construction in Chile’s Atacama Desert, will make it possible to further identify and characterize such elusive objects.

Brightest and fastest growing: Astronomers identify record-breaking quasar

This image shows the region of the sky where the record-breaking Qusar J0529-4351 is located. Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, this quasar is the most luminous object ever observed in the universe. This image is made from images that are part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2, while the inset shows the location of the quasar in the Dark Energy Survey image. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/Dark Energy Survey

Finding and studying is a distant thing. may shed light on some of the mysteries of the early universe, including how they and their host galaxies formed and evolved. But that’s not the only reason Wolf seeks them out. “Personally, I just love the chase,” he says. “For a few minutes a day, I feel like a kid again, playing treasure hunt, and now I bring everything I’ve learned to the table.”

More information:
Christian Wolff, Daily Solar Mass Accretion by a 17 Billion Solar Mass Black Hole, Nature Astronomy (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41550-024-02195-x. www.nature.com/articles/s41550-024-02195-x

Reference: Brightest and fastest growing: Astronomers identify record-breaking quasar (2024, February 19) https://phys.org/news/2024-02-brightest-fastest-astronomers February 19, 2024 Retrieved from -quasar.html

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