A massive black hole called the J2157 has been detected that has an extreme diet. It devours the gas and dust equivalent in mass to the sun nearly daily. This astounding feat has given the black hole the tag of being the fastest growing black hole in the universe.
The distant object was first discovered in 2018 and is unfathomably huge as it is about 34 billion times the mass of the sun. At the time of its discovery, the black hole had a mass of around 20 billion solar masses and had an accretion rate of half a solar mass a day.
Since then, it has grown and revised data shows it to be five times the size of our solar system.
The details of the study and calculations have been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Christopher A Onken of Australian National University is the lead author of the study and describing the enormity of the object, he said, “The black hole’s mass is also about 8,000 times bigger than the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way.”
Comparing it with Milky Way’s very own supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, Dr Onken said, “If the Milky Way’s black hole wanted to grow that fat, it would have to swallow two thirds of all the stars in our galaxy”.
But since the black hole is situated very far away, the researchers are measuring its gravitational influence from the past. So in current times, it is likely to be much bigger given its heavy diet.