APM 08279+5255, a quasar 12 billion light-years distant, houses a black hole with 20 billion solar masses. Two teams (one lead by Matt Bradford of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the other by Dariusz Lis of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory) have detected an immense amount of water around the black hole.
The total amount of water vapor in the Milky Way is estimated to be 4000 times less than in this reservoir, which itself is 140 trillion times all the water in Earth's oceans. The reservoir around APM 08279+5255's black hole spans hundreds of light years. There may be enough water and carbon monoxide to feed to black hole until it enlarges to six times its current size.
The CSO has a 10.4-meter, hexagonally-segmented dish, but the researchers used an instrument there called Z-Spec, which is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA.
More information at:
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/fea ... 10722.html
Caltech Submillimeter Observatory:
Is anyone, or thing, out there?
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