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The star is approximately 500,000 billion times brighter than the Sun.

< p>The brightest celestial object detected to date

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The quasar J059-4351 (Artistic illustration)

Radio-Canada

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A completely unusual object standard, even on an astronomical level, was discovered by an Australian team of astrophysicists.

Professor Christian Wolf and colleagues from the Australian National University detected quasar J0529-4351 using the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (TGT) in Chile.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">J0529-4351 is the brightest star observed to date in the Universe, say the researchers, whose work is published in the journal Nature Astronomy (New window) (in English).

This quasar is so far away that its light took more than 12 billion years to reach Earth.

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This image was created from photos from the Digitized Sky Survey 2. The inset shows the location of quasar J0529-4351.

The mass of the black hole associated with the present quasar increases by the equivalent of one Sun per day, making it the black hole whose growth is the fastest to date, says Professor Wolf.

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The black holes that power quasars collect matter from their surroundings in a process so energetic that it emits large amounts of light.

A quote from Christian Wolf, Australian National University

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As a general rule, the brightest quasars indicate the fastest growing supermassive black holes, notes Christian Wolf, lead author of the study.

We have discovered the fastest growing black hole known to date. It has a mass of 17 billion suns and eats a little more than one sun per day. This makes it the brightest object in the known Universe.

A quote from Christian Wolf, Australian National University

This intense light comes from a hot accretion disk that measures 7 light years across. It could be the largest accretion disk in the Universe, estimates Samuel Lai, co-author of the study.

By comparison, 7 light years is about 15,000 times the distance between the Sun and Neptune's orbit.

Researchers are surprised that this quasar has escaped observation until now. In fact, the object appears in a 1980 ESO sky survey, but it had been associated with a star.

In addition , an automated analysis of data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite also classified J0529-4351 as a star due to its excessive luminosity.

It was not until 2023 that researchers identified it as a distant quasar using observations from a telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">However, it was thanks to the X-shooter spectrograph of the powerful TGT that astronomers were able to establish that it was the most luminous quasar never observed.

The black hole associated with the quasar – the fastest growing ever observed – will also be a prime target for the future Giant Telescope European Space Agency (TGE) which is scheduled to enter service in 2027.

A few years ago, NASA and the European Space Agency announced the discovery, using the Hubble telescope, of a quasar as bright as 600,000 billion suns. However, the luminosity of this quasar was amplified by the effect of a lensing galaxy, located between us and the distant quasar. Thus, its real luminosity is estimated at around 11,000 billion suns.

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