Astronomers Identify Most Luminous Quasar

Posted on February 19, 2024

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have identified a bright quasar (J0529-4351) described as the most luminous object ever observed. It is powered by the fastest-growing black hole, which is growing in mass by the equivalent of one Sun per day.

Christian Wolf, an astronomer at the Australian National University (ANU) and lead author of the study, says in the announcement, "We have discovered the fastest-growing black hole known to date. It has a mass of 17 billion Suns, and eats just over a Sun per day. This makes it the most luminous object in the known Universe."

Quasar J0529-4351 is over 500 trillion times more luminous than the Sun. It has an accretion disc that is seven light-years in diameter.

Wolf says, "All this light comes from a hot accretion disc that measures seven light-years in diameter — this must be the largest accretion disc in the Universe."

Image: ESO/M. Kornmesser

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