Researchers Spot a Supermassive Black Hole Aimed at Earth

Astronomers have spotted a blazar, which is a very bright black hole that can consume matter across entire galaxies. The ancient object has an age of 13 billion years, and it was detected due to the powerful radiation that can travel across an impressive distance.

Blazars are classified as a specific class of active galactic nuclei. They can be found at the center of some galaxies in the form of supermassive black holes that consume a significant amount of cosmic gas, dust, and stars. When the material reaches the black hole, it will start to warm up, contributing to the release of massive pulses of energy and matter which can travel at speeds that are close to that of light.

This supermassive black hole aims at Earth

It is thought that the transition into an AGN can lead to the release of a jet of energy, which is so intense that it will create holes in galaxy clusters. Blazars are different from other AGNs due to their specific orientation. The energy released by the AGN has to be aimed towards Earth to classify it as a blazar. This trait makes them one of the brightest objects that can be seen in the night sky.

Current data infers that for every blazar that it is uncovered, 100 more exist. However, most will have a different orientation, and it is tough to observe them without the help of advanced tools. The team of astronomers harnessed the capabilities of three distinct devices for the study: the Very Large Array, found in New Mexico; the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response system based in Hawaii and an infrared telescope which is known as the Wide-Field Survey.

The data collected by these tools were compared with another batch recorded by using the Large Binocular Telescope found in Arizona. The blazar is the oldest one of its kind that has been observed by scientists. More data can be found in a study published in a major journal.