The farthest massive 'Black-hole' discovered by scientists

The farthest massive 'Black-hole' discovered by scientists

At the center of a distant galaxy, scientists have found the oldest black hole ever discovered, and it's so freaky it's posing some perplexing questions. Who knows when it actually formed, but astronomers found that it existed when the universe was only 690 million years old - just 5 per cent of the universe's current age of 13.77 billion years!

"Quasars are among the brightest and most-distant known celestial objects and are crucial to understanding the early universe", said Bram Venemans from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany in a statement. Explaining how such a massive black hole could have formed in such a comparatively short amount of available time is a challenge for models of supermassive black hole formation, and effectively rules out some of those models. The more distant a quasar is, the more time its light takes to reach the Earth.

"It's very puzzling." Simcoe was a lead author of a paper on the discoveries, published Wednesday in the journal Nature. That light has taken about 13 billion years to reach us - a span of time that is almost equal to the age of the universe.

It is the most distant black hole ever seen by scientists.

NASA says that this discovery could provide fundamental facts about those early days of the universe. For instance, at nearly a billion solar masses, the quasar's central black hole is comparatively massive.

But at a time when stars were just starting to light up, they wouldn't have had the time and mass to form such a black hole.




Using FIRE, the team identified one of Bañados' objects as a quasar with a redshift of 7.5, meaning the object was emitting light around 690 million years after the Big Bang. "It has an extremely high mass, and yet the universe is so young that this thing shouldn't exist. And it greatly confused us", says MIT Professor of physics Robert Simcoe.

Much bigger black holes are out there, but none so far away - at least among those found so far. Approximately 400,000 years after the Big Bang, these particles cooled and merged into neutral hydrogen gas.

"It's a moment when the first galaxies emerged from their cocoons of neutral gas and started to shine their way out", Simcoe said. But the universe remained dark, without any luminous sources until the gravity created the first stars and galaxies that corresponds to our period. From this, they inferred that stars must have begun turning on during this time, 690 million years after the Big Bang. They extrapolated from that to estimate that the universe as a whole was likely about half neutral and half ionized at the time they observed the quasar. It's part of a long-term search for the earliest quasars, which will continue.

But most galaxies we've seen from that era are very, very small.

Artist's impression of a quasar, an active supermassive black hole with a very high luminosity.

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