The brightest object in the universe discovered, it is a quasar

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The brightest object in the universe discovered, it is a quasar

The brightest astronomical object ever seen in the universe has been identified, which shines like 500 thousand billion Suns: it is a quasar, or a galactic nucleus, the brightest and fastest growing among those observed so far. Called J0529-4351, it is powered by a black hole with a mass 17 billion times that of the Sun that is growing at the rate of one solar mass per day.

This is demonstrated by the data collected thanks to the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, published in the journal Nature Astronomy. “We have discovered the fastest growing black hole known so far,” says Christian Wolf, astronomer at the Australian National University (ANU) and first author of the study. The matter attracted towards this black hole, in the form of a disk, emits so much energy that J0529-4351 is over 500 trillion times brighter than the Sun.

“All this light is coming from a hot accretion disk that measures seven light years in diameter – it must be the largest accretion disk in the universe,” says Samuel Lai, a doctoral candidate at ANU and co-author of the paper. The quasar is so far from Earth that its light took over 12 billion years to reach us. “It is a surprise that it has remained unknown until today, when we already know about a million less remarkable quasars. So far he has literally looked us in the eye!”, comments co-author Christopher Onken, astronomer at the ANU. J0529-4351 had already been identified in 1980 in the data collected by ESO's Schmidt Southern Sky Survey, but precisely because of its extreme brightness it was long mistaken for a star.

Reproduction reserved © Copyright ANSA

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