Listen 06:00

An especially carnivorous supermassive black hole sitting at the center of a galaxy is gobbling galactic gases at an astonishing rate – one solar mass every two days. The radiation released is so intense that if this object sat at the center of our galaxy, 65,000 light years away, the x-rays it generates would sterilize our planet, making life impossible.
According to Australian National University astronomer Christian Wolf, this object shines thousands of times more brightly than an entire galaxy and would be so bright that from the center of our galaxy it would shine 10 times brighter than the full moon and wash out almost all the brightest stars in our sky.
Here’s the tricky part: At 12 billion light years away, we’re seeing as it appeared 12 billion light years ago.

Let’s talk about mass – the amount of matter in an object;
The most massive planet in our solar system, Jupiter, is 2.5 times more massive than Earth; the biggest exoplanet known is 30 times more massive than Jupiter. Among star, one identified as R136a1 is 300 times heavier than our sun.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal