back to article Astroboffins spy the most greedy black hole yet gobbling a Sun a day

Astronomers have spotted the greediest supermassive black hole going through the fastest growth spurt some 12 billion years ago. The humongous hole, codenamed QSO SMSS J215728.21-360215.1, is the staggering size of about 20 billion suns, and grows at a rate of 200 million suns over a million years. It has a voracious appetite …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Probably ate other black holes in it's youth

    Yet apparently it's not its current growth, that seems in line with norms, it's its earlier growth that is blowing boffins minds, with earlier growth outstripping anything they had seen before.

    But really it probably as a youth swallowed another couple of black holes, Scientists models cannot model what they do not enter into them, if they have no clue of black holes being swallowed then they cannot model it.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Probably ate other black holes in it's youth

      But really it probably

      Do you have any evidence which allows you to determine that your hypothesis is the probable cause?

      Scientists models cannot model what they do not enter into them

      Do you have reason to believe that this model hasn't been tested?

      (Looks like I'm in a pedantic mood today.)

    2. AustinTX
      Headmaster

      Re: Probably ate other black holes in it's youth

      That begs the question of how did it manage to gather up and eat all those other black holes in so little time. They've thought of that and it still doesn't pan out. The leading theory is that the initial black hole formed and fed in an environment of high-pressure gas before the deionization of the universe took place. The inward pressure was high enough that the outward pressure of its jets and radiation still couldn't blow the gas away so it was forced to guzzle for an exceptionally long time.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Space is a time machine

    The further you look, the "younger' things are. If we ever get big enough or sensitive enough equipment, we might just see something that formed at the beginning. In some way, it's too bad we can't see objects like the as they are today even in our own galaxy.

    Maybe someday, we'll be able to see the light/energy from very early on and actually see a black hole being formed.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Space is a time machine

      However you cannot go further than 320000 years after "The Fireball From Nowhere Is Everywhere" (aka. "Big Bang") because of the Ionization alluded to in the article: The Universe was opaque till that moment due to high density of inonized hydrogen.

      1. redpawn Silver badge

        Re: Space is a time machine

        or time is a space machine. Who plugged it in without setting the voltage switch first?

      2. emmanuel goldstein

        Re: Space is a time machine

        Except, maybe one day, using gravitational waves.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Space is a time machine

          Except, maybe one day, using gravitational waves.

          These must have been redshifted fiercely, probably now undistinguishable from background noise.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    '..We don't know how this one grew so large, so quickly in the early days of the Universe.'

    Bloody Heechees..with a time machine.

  4. RichardB

    Where was the Ed?

    "at a rate of 200 million suns over a million years. It has a voracious appetite and gobbles a mass equivalent to twice that of our Sun every two days to sustain itself."

    What's wrong with a little simplification?

    If 2 x days growth = 2 x Sun.... why not just say a sun a day?

    Why stop at 2 days? Why not make it a round 1,000? A hundred suns in a hundred days.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Where was the Ed?

      Call me crazy but 200 million suns over a million years = 200 suns over a year, which equals one sun every two days, not two suns every two days.

      But either way it eats suns like Trump eats big Macs.

      1. Symon Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Where was the Ed?

        Also, "heat the accretion disk to temperatures hot enough, where it starts to emit electromagnetic radiation."

        Everything at a temperature above 0K emits electromagnetic waves. Even black holes emit Hawking radiation.

      2. emmanuel goldstein

        Re: Where was the Ed?

        Agree. Whereas in the headline they did go for "a Sun a day".

  5. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Alien

    Glaciers Melting In The Dead of Night

    And the superstars sucked into the super massive

    Super massive black hole

  6. Peter Prof Fox

    Go on I dare you

    Somebody sell it to Trump. American boffins are looking for a name for the, ahem, 'most prestigious thing so far found in the universe'. Would he take the honour?

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Go on I dare you

      That wouldn't work, Trump is a brown hole.

      1. aeonturnip
        Mushroom

        Re: Go on I dare you

        "if this monster was at the centre of the Milky Way it would likely make life on Earth impossible with the huge amounts of x-rays emanating from it"

        Substitute "the President" for "the centre of the Milky Way", and "vainglorious belligerent BS" for "x-rays", and the article is pretty accurate.

  7. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Alien

    Scale is awesome

    Enough energy to sterilise a galaxy (or at least mandate the evolution of extremophiles) and still growing when observed.

    Is this the kind of thing the Pierson's Puppeteers were running from, or was it a super super nova? Now imagining the burning galactic centre being eaten by a supermassive black hole. Makes our planet seem fragile and puny.

    I assume this is large enough to at least have a go at bending space and time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scale is awesome

      At the time this thing was emitting at max the universe was too young for our kind of life. It took a few billion years for enough supernovas and planetary nebulas to "cook off," thus seeding the galactic media with the necessary materials, like oxygen, carbon and nitrogen, plus a sprinkling of heavier elements.

      I suppose there might have been some kind of energy-based life, reveling in the glow of a really big accretion disk, but alas, such life's time has passed, leaving the universe to us moist mundanes.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Scale is awesome

        Scale is so awesome and thinking about earth relative to it, we are a spec of dust.

        1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

          Re: Scale is awesome

          Dust. Wind. Dude.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    I wouldn't say my Black Hole was fat.....

    I'll be here all this week.

  9. DeeCee
    Trollface

    "at a rate of 200 million suns over a million years. It has a voracious appetite and gobbles a mass equivalent to twice that of our Sun every two days to sustain itself."

    or what your mom would call it - fasting

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Gobbling a Sun a Day"

    This Black Hole is now called "British Underclass"

  11. David Harper 1

    Proper units, please

    "It has a voracious appetite and gobbles a mass equivalent to twice that of our Sun every two days to sustain itself."

    That's 12 milliJupiters per second, just to put things in proper perspective.

  12. 89724105618719271590214I9405670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921

    Is it as warm as Uranus?

    BTW: Dark Matter doesn't exist:

    "The Case Against Dark Matter"

    http://astronomy.com/news/2018/05/the-case-against-dark-matter

  13. DougS Silver badge

    Pinpoint of light 10x brighter than the Moon

    I wonder if you would even be able to look at it (assuming the X rays etc. were filtered) as it might be as bright as the Sun. The Sun is 400000x brighter than the Moon, but perhaps it would also be 400000x larger than a pinpoint 30K ly distant...

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Pinpoint of light 10x brighter than the Moon

      I wonder if you would even be able to look at it (assuming the X rays etc. were filtered

      The X-rays have been stretched out into the infrared and at that distance the emitting part of the accretion disc would need to be about 10^19 times the diameter of the sun to make it as warm as we feel the sun.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Pinpoint of light 10x brighter than the Moon

        The X-rays have been stretched out into the infrared and at that distance the emitting part of the accretion disc would need to be about 10^19 times the diameter of the sun to make it as warm as we feel the sun.

        Huh? The article was talking about it being 10x brighter than the Moon if it was the Milky Way's galactic black hole, which is what I was referring to, and I was wondering you could look at it if it was 30K ly away, assuming the X rays were somehow blocked (they wouldn't be stretched into the infrared at that distance, and I'd be a bit surprised if they were even at 12 billion ly)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pinpoint of light 10x brighter than the Moon

      > I wonder if you would even be able to look at it ... as it might be as bright as the Sun.

      I'm imagining Audi daylight-fucking-running-lights.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If time is linear as humans perceive it to be, did these "Scientists" use their time machine to go back in time and come up with these conclusions? Is this how they justify needing funding for "Research"? Seems very speculative, with no possible way to prove any of it. Doesn't that approach fly in the face of what evidence based research and science in general, is all about?

    1. 89724105618719271590214I9405670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921

      Wow. Do you find it dark in Uranus?

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      And maybe your behind does not exist even though you see it in the mirror?

    3. Swarthy Silver badge
      Boffin

      A clear case of a Rectal-Cranial Inversion.

  15. hayzoos
    Coat

    The end is near

    Just wait until we find the secondary percussion wave of the big bang is propagating albeit at a slower pace. That secondary wave is sweeping up after the initial mess and pushing everything together. These supermassive black holes and such will seem puny by comparison.

    I'm off to the restaurant at the end of the universe, or maybe i'll calculate a few impropabilities and see where I end up.

  16. MT Field

    My theory

    as I know you are all eager to hear it is that these big black holes precede the big bang somehow. Hey it's only a theory.

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