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Scientists observe supermassive black hole in infant universe

6 Dec 2017, 18:00 UTC
Scientists observe supermassive black hole in infant universe Robin Dienel, provided courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science

A team of astronomers, including two from MIT, has detected the most distant supermassive black hole ever observed. The black hole sits in the center of an ultrabright quasar, the light of which was emitted just 690 million years after the Big Bang. That light has taken about 13 billion years to reach us — a span of time that is nearly equal to the age of the universe. 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.

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