Found the oldest supermassive black hole

08 December, 2017, 01:40 | Author: Yolanda Murray
  • This illustration provided by the Carnegie Institution for Science shows the most-distant supermassive black hole ever discovered which is part of a quasar from just 690 million years after the Big Bang. On Wednesday Dec. 6 2017 a team led by the Carn

These larger black holes have had more time to grow in the hearts of galaxies since the Big Bang, compared with the young one just observed. "Gathering all this mass in fewer than 690 million years is an enormous challenge for theories of supermassive black hole growth", said Eduardo Bañados, the Carnegie scientist who spotted it.

The black hole is measured to be about 800 million times as massive as our sun - a Goliath by modern-day standards and a relative anomaly in the early universe.

"Here we see this thing that's very bright coming from very early in the universe", Simcoe said.

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Before, scientists thought that if there were black holes that formed soon after the Big Bang, there would need to be certain conditions which would allow the supermassive black hole to be born. As more stars and galaxies formed, they eventually generated enough radiation to flip hydrogen from neutral, a state in which hydrogen's electrons are bound to their nucleus, to ionized, in which the electrons are set free to recombine at random.

But for now, he's happy to have answered one of the fundamental questions about the age of the universe: when the stars began to twinkle. "We think we know how black holes form and how they eat material". "The universe is full of wonders", Banados said. He was joined by another researcher from MIT and researchers from several other institutions. A glance at the raw, unprocessed data confirmed it was a quasar - not a nearer object masquerading as one - and that it was perhaps the oldest ever found. FIRE is a spectrometer that classifies objects based on their infrared spectra.

Schematic representation at top of page of the look back into history that is possible by the discovery of the most distant quasar yet known. The higher an object's redshift, the further away it is, both in space and time. It took another 13 billion years to reach the earth, the researchers found.

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"It's a moment when the first galaxies emerged from their cocoons of neutral gas and started to shine their way out", Simcoe said.

The newly identified quasar appears to inhabit a pivotal moment in the universe's history. As the universe expanded in size, those particles cooled down, and as they did they formed into a neutral hydrogen gas during which it was completely dark.

The black hole is even more puzzling because of what was happening in the universe at that time. It's part of a long-term search for the earliest quasars, which will still proclaim. In this approach, collapsing clouds in the early universe gave birth to overgrown baby black holes that weighed thousands or tens of thousands of solar masses. "We now have the most accurate measurements to date of when the first stars were turning on".

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Quasars are powered by supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies - in this case, a black hole with nearly a billion times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers believe that the black hole was formed in a universe which was about half neutral and half ionized. That indicated to researchers that the stars were just beginning to glow, he said.

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