Super big black hole from early universe farthest ever found

Astronomers Find the Earliest Supermassive Black Hole Ever Discovered

Big Bang Quasar: Supermassive Black Hole From Dawn of the Universe is Most Distant Ever Discovered

The existence of this supermassive black hole when the Universe was only 690 million years old, just five per cent of its current age, reinforces early models of black hole growth that allow black holes with initial masses of more than about 10M⊙ (refs 2, 3) or episodic hyper-Eddington accretion.

Further observations of the quasar will provide researchers with even more constraints on how black holes in the early universe can form-giving a better insight into what happened just after the Big Bang.

The black hole in this newest, most distant quasar is 800 million times the mass of our sun. It's a glimpse into what the earliest universe was like.

"This is the only object we have observed from this era", said Robert Simcoe, the Francis L. Friedman professor of physics at MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.

Prior to this discovery, the record-holder for the furthest known quasar existed when the Universe was about 800 million years old. And how did those behemoth black holes grow so big in so little time? I am interested in the understanding of how the first galaxies and black holes formed and evolved across cosmic time, their role in cosmic reionization, and the mining of big datasets. Often we think of black holes as forming when a massive star collapses in on itself. Not to scale! The quasar 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.

The find is described in the journal Nature. The other lead authors are from the Carnegie Institution for Science, in Pasadena, California.

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Quasars are incredibly bright objects deep in the cosmos, powered by black holes devouring everything around them. The researchers also show that the black hole already weighed a hard-to-explain 780 million times the mass of the sun. FIRE is a spectrometer that classifies objects based on their infrared spectra.

Schematic representation at top of page of the look back into history that is possible by the discovery of the most distant quasar yet known. The higher the redshift, the greater the distance, and the farther back astronomers are looking in time when they observe the object.

The redshift measurement is 7.54, making it the second of only two known quasars with a redshift above 7.

This quasar has a bolometric luminosity of 4×10L⊙ and a black hole mass of 8×10M⊙.

The newly identified quasar appears to inhabit a pivotal moment in the universe's history.

The Big Bang started the universe as a hot, murky soup of extremely energetic particles that was rapidly expanding. It was taking shape just as the universe was undergoing a fundamental switch - one that saw the universe turn from being a misty cloud of nitrogen gas into a space where the very first stars were switch on. Eventually gravity condensed matter and the first few stars and galaxies were born. Once the universe became reionized, photons could travel freely throughout space, thus the universe became transparent to light. This means that much of the quasar's matter could be from a time we don't know much about, during which the universe was dark. For one, they can be used to "X-ray" the universe over large distances. That helped scientists estimate that the stars turned on roughly when it began its journey - about 696 million years after the big bang.

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