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Giant body of water found in space, black hole claims it was just hydrating

Joseph Volpe , @jrvolpe
Is that an intergalactic wave pool, or just a hungry, hungry quasar? Turns out it's a bit of both -- well, not the wave pool bit, but it's watery. A NASA-funded peep into the farthest reaches of the cosmos has uncovered this "feeding black hole" 12 billion light years away. APM 08279+5255, as this compacted mass of inescapable doom is affectionately known, has been gorging on water vapor and spewing out energy. How much H2O exactly? It's only the "largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe," and it weighs in at 140 trillion times the amount in our oceans. Located via the cooperation of two teams of astronomers and their star-gazing equipment -- the Z-Space instrument at California Institute of Technology's Submillimeter Observatory in Hawaii and the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in the French Alps -- this aqueous discovery proves the wet stuff is more universally omnipresent than we once thought. Also, surfing aliens, right?