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Christian Wolf, from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University (ANU) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO).

Fortunately, Earth won't be consumed by the black hole, as it is way beyond of the Milky Way galaxy- although there is one supermassive black hole in our galaxy "that is 40,000 times less mass than the one that we have now found", Wolf said.

We often think of a black hole as the darkest object in the universe, consuming even the light that comes near it. They then used the Gaia satellite to measure that the object was sitting still, thereby also confirming that it was incredibly distant and likely a supermassive black hole, the researchers said. "The hunt is on to find even faster-growing black holes", Wolf said.

Finding a black hole that's older than light itself is impressive (and more than a little unnerving).

Black holes have a speed limit that determines how fast they grow, which is proportional to their mass.

In fact, the light emitted would be so bright that it would wash out nearly all the stars in the sky, Wolf said.

The discovery could give us more insight into the Big Bang, Wolf said.

FOR anyone trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe, there is one thing that is universal, the bigger a black hole is, the better.

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Black holes at the centre of galaxies, which can be quasars, often reach masses over ten billion times the mass of the Sun.

Luckily, the black hole sits far beyond.

"Fast-growing supermassive black holes also help to clear the fog around them by ionizing gases, which makes the universe more transparent".

We don't know how this one grew so large, so quickly in the early days of the universe. "So this means it's far, far away in another galaxy and it will never drift and come over here", he said. It's a plate of gas and dust swirling around the supermassive black hole that will eventually get devoured.

Instruments on very large ground-based telescopes being built over the next decade would be able to directly measure the expansion of the universe using these very bright black holes, Wolf said.

Black holes are some of the most mysterious regions in space.

In a paper due to appear in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, the ANU team explained that they spotted the fast-growing quasar by combining motion data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite with photometry from the SkyMapper and NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).


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