Astronomers Find the Earliest Supermassive Black Hole Ever Discovered

Astronomers Find the Earliest Supermassive Black Hole Ever Discovered

The matter-munching sinkhole is a whopping 13 billion light-years away, so far that we see it as it was a mere 690 million years after the Big Bang. In effect, the light shows that quasar as it was 13 billion years ago, a mere 690 million years after the Big Bang. "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". Bañados says: "Gathering all this mass in fewer than 690 million years is an enormous challenge for theories of supermassive black hole growth".

Quasars are supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies that actively consume gas and dust.

Another study author, Robert Simcoe of MIT, said "this is the only object we have observed from this era". And how did those behemoth black holes grow so big in so little time? Based on the quasar's redshift, the researchers calculated the mass of the black hole at its center and determined that it is around 800 million times the mass of the sun.

In order to discover these rare distant quasars I am mining various large sky surveys including Pan-STARRS1 and WISE. Once the universe became reionzed, photons could travel freely throughout space, thus the universe became transparent to light.

There are only 20 to 100 quasars that are as bright and distant as this newly discovered object in Earth's sky, so the detection of this supermassive black hole is a pretty big deal. "It has an extremely high mass, and yet the universe is so young that this thing shouldn't exist".

Several astronomical institutions today (December 6, 2017) are announcing the most-distant-yet luminous quasar, containing the most-distant-yet supermassive black hole.

At this time, the cosmos was beginning to emerge from a period known as the dark ages - just before the first stars appeared. As more stars formed from the remains of first-generation stars, they became "polluted" with heavier elements and in turn produce even heavier elements when they explode in supernovae.

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In a study published in Nature, an worldwide team of scientists has now found the most distant (therefore earliest) quasar ever discovered. That helped scientists estimate that the stars turned on roughly when it began its journey - about 696 million years after the big bang.

And the existence of early black holes has been predicted to be a key telltale as to whether or not the idea may be valid.

It had reached its size just 690 million years after the point beyond which there is nothing.

"If you start with a seed like a big star, and let it grow at the maximum possible rate, and start at the moment of the Big Bang, you could never make something with 800 million solar masses - it's unrealistic", Professor Simcoe said. The energy released by these ancient galaxies caused the neutral hydrogen strewn throughout the universe to get excited and ionize, or lose an electron, a state that the gas has remained in since that time. "So there must be another way that it formed".

No one's sure exactly how those processes might happen, but researchers plan to look for more, similar deep-space objects to test their theories.

This research was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with support from construction of FIRE from NSF and from Curtis and Kathleen Marble.

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