Brightest quasar with rapidly growing black hole discovered
An international team of astronomers led by scientists from the Australian National University has found the fastest growing black hole. This object feeds the brightest known quasar, absorbing every second a mass equivalent to the mass of the Earth, and its brightness is seven thousand times that of the Milky Way. The discovery is announced in a preprint published in the arXiv repository.
The redshift of the quasar SMSS J114447.77-430859.3 (J1144) reaches 0.83, which corresponds to the travel time of light from the object to the Earth in seven billion years. It is the brightest quasar known in the last 9 billion years of cosmic history and has a luminosity that is eight times that of the first discovered quasar, 3C 273, the brightest object in Earth’s starry sky. The apparent magnitude of the object reaches 14.5, which makes it accessible for observations using an amateur telescope.
The object J1144 was identified during the search for double stars when analyzing data from the survey of the southern sky obtained using the SkyMapper optical telescope. Spectroscopic observations of the quasar have revealed broad MgII, H-beta, H-alpha and Pa-beta emission lines, allowing astronomers to estimate the approximate mass of the central supermassive black hole at three billion solar masses. Its radius reaches about 60 astronomical units (one astronomical unit is equal to the semi-major axis of the Earth’s orbit). For comparison, the maximum distance to Pluto reaches 40 astronomical units.