SDSS J0100+2802. That’s the name of the quasar hosting the massive black hole most recently spotted by human scientists. The international team led by astronomers from Peking University in China and from the University of Arizona recently announced it in their findings in the scientific journal “Nature.”
12 billion times larger than the sun, the black hole is situated in the middle of said quasar, an super-bright region found in the center of a galaxy. A quasar’s luminosity comes from the black holes that take up residence there. NASA explains the presence of the blinding light – “as material spirals into the black holes, a large part of the mass is converted to energy.”
The J0100+2802 is not the most massive black hole ever found. Scientists recently found one that may be the most massive black hole ever, with a mass equivalent to 17 billion suns, in a small galaxy NGC 1277 in the constellation Perseus about 250 million light-years from Earth. The NGC 1277 is a strange galaxy – the black hole made up 14 percent of its mass, compared with the 0.1 percent for a normal black hole would, according to scientists.
The intriguing thing about J0100+2802 lies more in its age however. This black hole was born a mere 900 million years after the Big Bang. The issue is, astronomers are finding it difficult to explain how such a massive black hole could have formed so soon after the first stars and galaxies were born. One possible explanation is this back hole grew at the maximum possible rate, uninhibited by the energy output, which is pushing the limits of possibilities.
But then, black holes are still pretty much a big mystery to astronomers and scientists. Steven Hawking recently said that black holes do not exist.
From National Geographic, “No Black Holes Exist, Says Stephen Hawking—At Least Not Like We Think” :
“Black holes do not exist—at least, not as we know them, says renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, potentially provoking a rethink of one of space’s most mysterious objects.
A new study from Hawking also says that black holes may not possess “firewalls,” destructive belts of radiation that some researchers have proposed would incinerate anything that passes through them but others scientists deem an impossibility.”
At the heart of the argument is a clash between Einstein’s theory of general relativity and quantum physics. In plain English, by the Theory of relativity, black holes are monsters that eat up and destroy everything around it. But according to quantum physics, nothing is completely destroyable. So, if a black hole eats up something, it will also spit it out someway. Since no one has figured out what leaves a black hole and how, there exists the battle.
Thankfully, there is no black hole close enough to us to make us scream in terror of being swallowed alive. Although just thinking about how tiny we are in comparison to all this makes me cringe a tad. It also makes me more appreciative of my existence and it becomes imperative that I spend my time doing what I love most.