The old and farthest black hole ever witnessed is a celestial brute 800 million times more extensive than the sun which is providing scientists with some wonders about the nature of the universe. Based on the quasar's redshift, the researchers calculated the mass of the black hole at its center and determined that it is around 800 million times the mass of the sun.
In contrast, some, known as "active" supermassive black holes, or "quasars" (short for "quasi-stellar objects"), are very bright, emitting intense light and radiation as they consume vast quantities of matter. What's extraordinary about this black hole, aside from its massive size, is that its discovery will help scientists comprehend the processes of their growth during the time the universe was still forming.
The object was discovered by Eduardo Bañados, an astronomer at Carnegie, as he was looking through multiple all-sky surveys - maps of the distant universe.
The supermassive black hole emerged when the universe was still in its infancy, and it took light carrying its image 13 billion years to reach us. It's the oldest and most distant object we've ever seen. "This adds to our understanding of our universe at large because we've identified that moment of time when the universe is in the middle of this very rapid transition from neutral to ionized".
Geballe said that makes it 200 times more massive than the black hole at the center of our galaxy, prompting the question: How did it get so big so fast?
But there's a problem with the finding: the black hole appears to be far too big for its age.
Before, scientists thought that if there were black holes that formed soon after the Big Bang, there would need to be certain conditions which would allow the supermassive black hole to be born.
The astronomer who found the odd black hole said that there's no way of explaining how a black hole would be able to pick up such mass, and that it might challenge out current understandings of how black holes form.
According to the theory, the first 400,000 years were a period of inflation, in which particles cooled and gelled into neutral hydrogen gas-a dark time before stars and starlight. After gravity condensed matter, the first stars and galaxies were formed. 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. Astronomers observe the pattern occurred around 690 million years from the formation of the Universe, even before reionizatsii. That's how astronomers detect black holes.
Distant quasars are valuable sources of information about the early universe.
"The new quasar is itself one of the first galaxies, and yet it already harbors a behemoth black hole as massive as others in the present-day universe", co-author Xiaohui Fan of the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory said in a statement.