Black Hole Hosts Universe's Most Massive Water Cloud
Misty reservoir would fill 140 trillion Earth oceans, scientists say.
Weighing in at 40 billion times the mass of Earth, the giant cloud of mist swaddles a type of actively feeding supermassive black hole known as a quasar.
Among the brightest and most energetic objects in the universe, quasars are black holes at the centers of galaxies that are gravitationally consuming surrounding disks of material while burping back out powerful energy jets.
"As this disk of material is consumed by the central black hole, it releases energy in the form of x-ray and infrared radiation, which in turn can heat the surrounding material, resulting in the observed water vapor," said study co-author Eric Murphy, an astronomer with the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California.
The vapor around this particular quasar represents enough