This could explain how such a young black hole became so large.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …
The oldest, most distant “supermassive” black hole and quasar in the universe have both been discovered, astronomers announced Tuesday.
For more than 13 billion years, the black hole and the quasar are the earliest ever seen, giving astronomers insight into the formation of massive galaxies in the early universe.
Quasars are huge, incredibly bright celestial bodies located in the center of galaxies. They are the most distant known celestial objects and are essential to the understanding of the early universe.
The newly discovered quasar and black hole date back to 670 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only 5% of its current age, astronomers said.
The discovery, announced Tuesday during the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, helps shed light on the environment of the ancient universe, CNET said.
“The most distant quasars are crucial to understanding how the earliest black holes formed,” said Xiaohui Fan, an astronomer at the University of Arizona and co-author of a new study on the discovery. The study has been accepted for publication in the journal. Astrophysical journal letters.
The quasar is an incredible 1,000 times brighter than our entire Milky Way galaxy and is powered by the supermassive black hole that weighs more than 1.6 billion times the mass of our sun.
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The newly discovered quasar provides a rare glimpse into the life of a galaxy at the dawn of the universe, as many of the galaxy-forming processes that have since slowed or ceased in galaxies that have existed much longer were still in full swing, the University of Arizona said in a declaration.
It is believed that quasars originate from supermassive black holes that collect ambient matter, such as gas or even whole stars, resulting in a maelstrom of overheated matter known as an accretion disk that swirls around the black hole.
“This is the earliest evidence of how a supermassive black hole affects its host galaxy around it,” said the study’s lead author Feige Wang of the University of Arizona. “From observations of smaller distant galaxies, we know this is going to happen, but we’ve never seen it happen so early in the universe.”
The observations that led to the discovery were made using a number of observatories around the world, including several telescopes in Hawaii.
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