Scientists have discovered an unbelievable black hole

Image Robin Dienel courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science

Scientists have discovered a supermassive black hole quasar, which originates from the very beginnings of the universe and it was "born" about 690 million years after the Big Bang. This massive object, 800 million times more massive than the Sun, is now the most distant quasar ever found, and as a result, it is the earliest one ever observed. Explaining how such a massive black hole could have formed in such a comparatively short amount of available time is a challenge for models of supermassive black hole formation, and effectively rules out some of those models.

The object was discovered by Eduardo Bañados, an astronomer at Carnegie, as he was looking through multiple all-sky surveys - maps of the distant universe.

Geballe said the research team led by Eduardo Banados, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, initially tried to measure the black hole's mass with a telescope in Arizona, but atmospheric conditions proved too hard.

Quasars could be detected from the farthest corners of the world as they are the most distant objects known. And it is so far away that we are seeing something that formed when the universe was only five per cent of its current age - something that scientists say shouldn't be able to happen.

It's not the brightest or most massive - that honor belongs to a quasar called SDSS J0100+2802, which boasts barely-comprehensible stats like a mass of 12 billion Suns, and a luminosity of 420 trillion Suns. Scientists have now found a super-sized black hole.

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"The universe was just not old enough to make a black hole that big". "They're rare, but they're very much there, and we need to figure out how they form", said Priyamvada Natarajan, an astrophysicist at Yale University who was not part of the research team.

When the universe began, it was like a very hot soup of extremely energetic but formless particles.

"This adds to our understanding of our universe at large because we've identified that moment of time when the universe is in the middle of this very rapid transition from neutral to ionized", said Professor Simcoe. The earliest known galaxy discovered by the Hubble space telescope existed 400 million years after the Big Bang, according to NASA's website. But the universe remained dark, without any luminous sources until the gravity created the first stars and galaxies that corresponds to our period.

Astronomers have at least two gnawing questions about the first billion years of the universe, an era steeped in literal fog and figurative mystery. Follow-up observations, as well as a search for similar quasars, are on track to put our picture of early cosmic history onto a solid footing. This black hole was seen gorging material at the centre of the galaxy.

But when the black hole was formed, the universe was comprised of about 50 percent ionized (or energized) hydrogen and 50 percent neutral hydrogen.

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