Astronomers discover a reservoir of water floating in space that is equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in Earth’s ocean
There is a reservoir of water the size of 140 trillion oceans lurking in a distant supermassive black hole, the largest reservoir of water in the universe and 4,000 times the amount found in the Milky Way.
This amount of water was discovered by two teams of astronomers 12 billion light-years away, where it appears as scattered vapor for hundreds of light-years.
The deposit was discovered in the gaseous area of a quasar, which is a bright, compact region at the heart of a galaxy fed by a black hole. This finding shows that water can be present throughout the cosmos, even at the beginning.
While this doesn’t surprise experts, water has never been discovered this far away before. Light from the quasar (specifically, quasar APM 08279+5255 in the constellation Lynx) took 12 billion years to reach Earth, implying that this body of water existed when the universe was only 1.6 billion years old. years.
One group used the Z-Spec instrument at Caltech’s Submillimeter Observatory in Hawaii, while the other used the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in the French Alps.
These sensors detect millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, allowing the detection of trace gases (or vast reservoirs of water vapor) in the early cosmos.
The discovery of many spectral fingerprints of water in the quasar provided researchers with the data they needed to calculate the vast magnitude of the reservoir.