Astronomers say they have have discovered a black hole so big that it challenges the theory about how black holes grow. Scientists said this black hole was formed about 900 million years after the Big Bang. But with measurements indicating it is 12 billion times the size of the sun, the black hole challenges a widely accepted hypothesis of growth rates. So what exactly is a black hole? Well NASA describes it as
“A black hole is anything but empty space. Rather, it is a great amount of matter packed into a very small area — think of a star ten times more massive than the Sun squeezed into a sphere approximately the diameter of New York City. The result is a gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape.”
The black hole was discovered by a team of global scientists led by Xue-Bing Wu at Peking University, China, as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which provided imagery data of 35 percent of the northern hemisphere sky.
In a media release, the University of Arizona said that the black hole powered “the brightest quasar of the early universe.” NASA describes quasars as “the brilliant beacons of light that are powered by black holes feasting on captured material, and in the process, heating some of the matter to millions of degrees.”
“This quasar is very unique,” the University of Arizona quoted lead researcher Wu as saying. “Just like the brightest lighthouse in the distant universe, its glowing light will help us to probe more about the early Universe.”