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What’s The Brightest Thing In the Universe?

by Kenny Hoeschen

Although when we look at our Sun, we can be impressed with how bright it is in the midday sky. But Michael Stevens at Vsauce looks at how the Sun compares to other objects in the universe and it’s not quite so impressive.

To being, the brightest star we know of, R136a1, is 256 times more massive than the Sun and 8.7 millions times brighter than the Sun. But when an exploding star becomes a supernova it’s far brighter than that. The resulting gamma ray burst releases an enormous amount of energy for a short period of time. But the brightest sustained objects are black holes due to the accretion discs that form as gas and debris swirl into the black hole’s maw. The friction in the disc creates a quasar which shine thousands of times more brightly than galaxies containing billions of stars. And, if a large portion of the quasar’s energy is ejected towards Earth, it’s known as a “blazar.” And the brightest known object is Blazar 3C454.3.

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