Here’s the scoop!
- A supermassive black hole has been discovered at the edge of the universe containing over a billion solar masses worth of interstellar dust and forming stars 1,000 times faster than our own Milky Way.
- The black hole is heavily enshrouded by cosmic ‘dust’, causing nearly all of its light to be emitted in the mid-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- The discovery using data collected by ALMA could help answer one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy: how supermassive black holes in space evolved.
Astronomers have made an exciting discovery at the edge of the universe: a supermassive black hole containing over a billion solar masses worth of interstellar dust, forming stars 1,000 times faster than our own Milky Way.
The black hole is located at the center of an extreme galaxy, nicknamed COS-87259, which dates back more than 13 billion years – just 750 million years after the Big Bang.
This discovery is significant because it sheds light on the evolution of supermassive black holes in space.
“These results suggest very early supermassive black holes were often heavily obscured by dust, perhaps as a consequence of the intense star formation activity in their host galaxies”, said lead author Dr. Ryan Endsley of The University of Texas at Austin.
The discovery could even be a “missing link” between galaxies that produce lots of stars like our Sun and the first supermassive black holes.
Using data collected by ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), a radio observatory in the Chilean Andes Mountains, the American team was able to identify the black hole over a relatively small patch of the sky.
This suggests there could be thousands of similar black holes in the very early universe, which was completely unexpected from previous data. While quasars are the only other class of supermassive black holes that have been detected in the very early universe, they are extremely rare.
The discovery of this black hole takes us one step closer to understanding how billion solar mass black holes were able to form so early in the lifetime of the universe.
There are only three supermassive black holes, Whoopie, Mad Maxine, and Moooooochelle!