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Giant black hole at cosmic dawn

6 Dec 2017, 18:00 UTC
Giant black hole at cosmic dawn Robin Dienel/ Carnegie Institution

Several astronomical institutions today (December 6, 2017) are announcing the most-distant-yet luminous quasar, containing the most-distant-yet supermassive black hole. The black hole presumably powers the quasar, whose redshift is 7.54, corresponding to a time when the universe was only 5 percent of its current age, just 690 million years after the Big Bang. Eduardo Bañados of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC led the team of astronomers that made this discovery, using Carnegie’s Magellan telescopes in Chile. The mass of this black hole is some 800 million times that of our sun, in contrast to the 4-million-mass black hole thought to lie at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. These findings are published today in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

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