Astronomers have discovered the largest and most distant reservoir of water in the Universe


28/07/2011

Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and most remote from our reservoir of water ever known in the universe. Water, which amount to 140 trillion times more water than all the oceans, surrounds a huge black hole, called a quasar, located at a distance of 12 billion light years.

"The ambience of this quasar is noteworthy in that it forms such a huge mass of water," - said Matt Bradford’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA in Pasadena, California. "This is yet another indication of how widespread the water in the universe, even in its earliest forms." Bradford leads one of the teams that made the discovery. The research of his team partially funded by NASA and published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

In the heart of a quasar is a huge black hole that steadily consumes a surrounding gas and dust. As the absorption of matter, quasars emit massive amounts of energy. The scientists studied a quasar called APM 08279 +5255, which is located inside the black hole mass is 20 billion times larger than the sun, generating energy as a thousand trillion suns.

Astronomers expect to find water vapor, even in the early, distant universe, but had never found it so far. Water vapor can be found in the Milky Way, but our entire galaxy in its 4000 times less than the discovery of quasars, since most of the water here is in the form of ice.

This quasar, the water vapor surrounds the black hole, forming gas region over hundreds of light-years away (a light year is equal to nine trillion kilometers).

Calculations showed that a black hole surrounded by a large amount of gas, which is enough that the black hole has grown to six times its current size. It is not clear how likely such a scenario, because, according to astronomers, some gas may settle on stars or be thrown from the quasar.


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