The biggest black hole blast ever found blasts out 400 solar masses of material per year, and is five times more powerful than any other scientists have ever seen. The blast is so large it spreads about 1000 light-years out into the surrounding galaxy.
These giant black holes, are also known as quasars. They are the extremely bright centre in a galaxy that is powered by massive black holes and blasts a huge amount of mass out into its galaxy. The particles emitted play a key role in the formation and evolution of galaxies.
The newly discovered giant quasar is called SDSS J1106+1939 by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, the largest telescope that observes the sky in visible light.
“We have discovered the most energetic quasar outflow known to date. The rate that energy is carried away by this huge mass of material ejected at high speed from SDSS J1106+1939 is at least equivalent to two million million times the power output of the Sun,” study researcher Nahum Arav, of Virgina Tech University, said in a statement from the European Southern Observatory.
“This is about 100 times higher than the total power output of the Milky Way galaxy — it’s a real monster of an outflow,” Arav said. “This is the first time that a quasar outflow has been measured to have the sort of very high energies that are predicted by theory.”
The picture below shows the bright quasar at the centre surrounded by the blast of materials flowing out of it:
Photo: ESO/L. Calçada
“I’ve been looking for something like this for a decade,” Arav said, “so it’s thrilling to finally find one of the monster outflows that have been predicted!”
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