Massive Dark Hole Reveals When The First Celebrities Blinked On : The Two-Way : NPR

Massive Black Hole Reveals When The Initial Stars Blinked On

Enlarge this photo toggle caption Robin Dienel/Courtesy of the Carnegie Organization for Science/Characteristics Robin Dienel/Courtesy of the Carnegie Organization for Science/Nature

Scientists have just discovered a supermassive black hole that existed surprisingly early found in the history of the universe, and the puzzling get is shedding new light on when the primary stars blinked on.

Astronomers spotted the black hole, the most distant ever found, sitting in the bright object so far away that the light have been vacationing for 13 billion years before reaching Earth.

The monster black hole looks to be about 800 million times as large as our sun, and astronomers can’t know how such a behemoth could have previously formed simply 690 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was just 5 percent of its current age.

“We anticipated as we looked further more back into time that the black holes will be smaller and more compact because they hadn’t got as enough time to grow,” says Rob Simcoe, a great astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the authors of a newly published exploration paper in Nature. “What was surprising below was that this one seemed to be fully formed despite the fact that the universe was incredibly young at this period in time.”

In addition, he says, it looks like this black hole formed in a cosmic environment that was only starting to be damaged by light from the initial stars.

“As soon as when the first celebrities fired up is when our universe filled with mild,” says Simcoe, who explains that when this mild leaked from the first galaxies, it interacted with the encompassing matter and changed its real estate. “We’ve an estimate right now, with about one to two 2 percent reliability, for the moment at which starlight first illuminated the universe.”

This was a significant moment in history, he adds: “It’s when the universe first started manufacturing chemicals apart from hydrogen and helium, all of the elements of the periodic table were starting to be formed.”

The black hole was detected by Eduardo Bañados of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who was scouring surveys of the sky to find ancient objects such as this one.

“He really deserves all of the credit for discovering that needle in the haystack,” Simcoe says.

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