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A new record for the most distant quasar

13 Jan 2021, 20:31 UTC
A new record for the most distant quasar
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Artist’s impression of quasar J0313-1806, a highly luminous object in the early universe. Like all quasars, it’s thought to be powered by a supermassive black hole. Image via NOIRLab/ NSF/ AURA/ J. da Silva/ Keck Observatory. View an annotated version of this image.
Keck Observatory and NSF’s NoirLab both announced on January 12, 2021 that astronomers have located an object that sets a new record for being the most distant quasar and thus the most distant supermassive black hole. They said they’re seeing the quasar – labeled J0313-1806 – just 670 million years after the Big Bang, or more than 13 billion light-years away. It’s estimated to be some 1,000 times more luminous than our Milky Way galaxy, which is why we can still see it across such a great distance. This object is thought to be powered by what’s now the earliest known supermassive black hole in our universe, weighing in at more than 1.6 billion times the mass of our sun. Astronomers released this result this week at the January 2021 virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
A paper outlining the new work has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Astrophysical Journal Letters and is ...

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