Oldest Supermassive Black Hole 800 Million Times Bigger Than The Sun Found But It Shouldn’t Exist
Astronomers have discovered the oldest supermassive black hole that is 800 million times bigger than the sun. One itsy bitsy problem — it shouldn’t exist. Scientists were able to find an extremely distant quasar, which is a bright object that consists of a supermassive black hole surrounded by an orbiting accretion disk of gas. “Quasars are among the brightest and most distant known celestial objects and are crucial to understanding the early universe,” said co-author Bram Venemans of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany. There are much bigger black holes out there in the universe, but this is the furthest one that scientists have been able to detect. Only one other quasar has ever been found at this mind-blowing of a distance, but the newest quasar beats the previous record-holder, known as J1342+0928, by approximately 60 million light years.
The newest quasar gives off so much light that scientists believe that it must be at least 800 million times the mass of our Sun. Scientists can calculate the mass of its black hole engine based on the brightness of the quasar. NASA explains how scientists measure the distance of quasars:
The quasar’s distance is determined by what’s called its redshift, a measurement of how much the wavelength of its light is stretched by the expansion of the universe before reaching Earth. The higher the redshift, the greater the distance, and the farther back astronomers are looking in time when they observe the object. This newly discovered quasar has a redshift of 7.54, based on the detection of ionized carbon emissions from the galaxy that hosts the massive black hole. That means it took more than 13 billion years for the light from the quasar to reach us.