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renegadebusdallas.com December 12, 2017


Super big black hole from early universe farthest ever found

08 December 2017, 01:43 | Francis Delgado

Scientists find 'behemoth' black hole so big it could challenge our understanding of the universe's beginning

Found: The most distant supermassive black hole ever observed

Artist's conceptions of the most-distant supermassive black hole ever discovered, which is part of a quasar from just 690 million years after the Big Bang. With a redshift of 7.5, the newly-discovered quasar began emitting light a mere 690 million years after the Big Bang, and the supermassive black hole at its center has 800 million times the mass of our Sun.

It's a truly gargantuan black hole, some 800 million times the mass of our sun.

Venemans Bram of the Max Planck Institute and an author on the paper says it's likely the early universe favored the formation of massive, unstable stars that exploded after a few million years, producing metals more rapidly than our present universe.

Scientists says our current understanding suggests that for a black hole of this magnitude to exist at such an early stage in the universe is theoretically impossible, the website reports.

The black hole was detected by Eduardo BaƱados of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who was scouring surveys of the sky to look for ancient objects like this one. That means the light from this quasar has been traveling our way for more than 13 billion years. Then, the neutral hydrogen was ionized by the first quasars, which are supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies.

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Adding to the black hole's intrigue is the environment in which it formed: The scientists have deduced that the black hole took shape just as the universe was undergoing a fundamental shift, from an opaque environment dominated by neutral hydrogen to one in which the first stars started to blink on.

"This black hole grew far larger than we expected in only 690 million years after the Big Bang, which challenges our theories about how black holes form", said study co-author Daniel Stern of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

While the black hole itself remains a mystery, its existence provided the team with another discovery: information about when the stars first turned on, Simcoe said. But based on the size of the Goliath and the age of the universe, it should not exist, said Robert Simcoe, a physics professor at MIT. "What was surprising here was that this one seemed to be fully formed even though the universe was very young at this period in time".

Much bigger black holes are out there, but none so far away - at least among those found so far. It is surrounded by neutral hydrogen, indicating that it is from the period called the epoch of reionization, when the universe's first light sources turned on. Follow-up observations, as well as a search for similar quasars, are on track to put our picture of early cosmic history onto a solid footing.

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



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