Scientists claim they have found a black hole so large that our entire Solar System could fit behind its event horizon.
And worringly, the black hole is taking Earth-sized bites of the universe, according to boffins from the Australian National University.
Lead researcher Dr Christopher Onken said the discovery is like a “very large, unexpected needle in the haystack”.
Space.com reported that the newly discovered black hole is 500 times larger than the black hole at the center of the Milky Way and not even light can escape the hole’s draw once it passes this demarcating line, or edge of the phenomenon.
“Astronomers have been hunting for objects like this for more than 50 years. They have found thousands of fainter ones, but this astonishingly bright one had slipped through unnoticed,” Onken added.
The black hole is eight times brighter than 3C 273, the first-ever discovered quasar, a celestial object that expels particles at near-light speed as it tears away from a black hole’s edges.
“Now we want to know why this one is different – did something catastrophic happen? Perhaps two big galaxies crashed into each other, funneling a whole lot of material onto the black hole to feed it,” Onken said.
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“We are fairly confident this record will not be broken. We have essentially run out of sky where objects like this could be hiding,” a co-author of the study added.
“Quasars are capable of emitting hundreds or even thousands of times the entire energy output of our galaxy, making them some of the most luminous and energetic objects in the entire Universe,” Nasa wrote in a blog post about the Hubble Telescope.
Dr Onken and his team said the newly-discovered quasar is so bright it can be observed with amateur telescopes.