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Found: The Most-Distant Supermassive Black Hole Ever Observed

6 Dec 2017, 23:20 UTC
Found: The Most-Distant Supermassive Black Hole Ever Observed
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A team of astronomers led by Carnegie’s Eduardo Bañados used Carnegie’s Magellan telescopes to discover the most-distant supermassive black hole ever observed. It resides in a luminous quasar and its light reaches us from when the universe was only 5 percent of its current age—just 690 million years after the Big Bang. Their findings are published by Nature.Quasars are tremendously bright objects comprised of enormous black holes accreting matter at the centers of massive galaxies. This newly discovered black hole has a mass that is 800 million times the mass of our Sun.“Gathering all this mass in fewer than 690 million years is an enormous challenge for theories of supermassive black hole growth,” Bañados explained.To grow black holes that big so soon after the Big Bang, astronomers have speculated that the very early universe might have had conditions allowing the creation of very large black holes with masses reaching 100,000 times the mass of the Sun. This is very unlike the black holes that form in the present-day universe, which rarely exceed a few dozen solar masses.Added Bram Venemans of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany: “Quasars are among the brightest and most-distant known celestial objects and are ...

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