Hungry Hungry Black Hole | God's World News
Hungry Hungry Black Hole
News Shorts
Posted: February 21, 2024
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    This illustration depicts J0529-4351 and the black hole at its center. (M. Kornmesser/ESO via AP)


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“Don’t stare at the Sun!” You’ve probably heard that advice before. Our Sun shines so brightly it can hurt our eyes. But it’s far from the brightest object in the universe.

In fact, astronomers discovered something 500 trillion times brighter. (Can you even imagine a number that big?) Say hello to J0529-4351. It might be the brightest object in the entire universe.

J0529-4351 is a quasar. Quasars appear at the center of extremely active galaxies. But what makes galaxies “active”?

Most galaxies have supermassive black holes at their centers. Black holes eat everything around them—even light! Our galaxy, the Milky Way, swirls around a black hole called Sagittarius A. But the Milky Way isn’t an active galaxy. In active galaxies, black holes suck in stars and other matter.

Scientists spot active galaxies by the light they produce. Galaxies that aren’t active glow only as brightly as the stars within. Active galaxies shine much brighter.

Why would a “black hole” create extra light? When black holes eat up stars, swirling gas and other matter around them heat up. That heat creates light. If it gets bright enough, scientists call it a quasar.

Phew! That’s a lot of science.

The European Southern Observatory first spotted J0529-4351 in 1980. Astronomers thought it was a star. But new observations give a clearer picture. J0529-4351 is a quasar. It’s powered by a very hungry black hole. The black hole eats about one star per day. (Talk about a light snack!) Matter swirls around it like a cosmic hurricane.

Christian Wolf is an astronomer at Australian National University. He led the study that discovered that the “star” was really a quasar. “This quasar is the most violent place that we know in the universe,” he says.

Thankfully, it’s far, far away!

The whole universe tells us about God. Quasars show us that God can bring light even from the darkest darkness. He calls us out of the darkness of sin and into His glorious light. How amazing is that?

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” — John 8:12