The most ancient black hole ever found is estimated to have formed 470 million years after the Big Bang.

Researchers have made a groundbreaking finding in the field of astronomy by identifying the most ancient black hole to date. This massive celestial entity was created just 470 million years after the Big Bang.

On Monday, the results were published, confirming previous theories that supermassive black holes were present during the early stages of the universe. The observations were made collaboratively by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory over the course of the last year.

Since the estimated age of the universe is 13.7 billion years, the calculated age of this black hole is approximately 13.2 billion years.

Even more astonishing to researchers, this immense black hole is 10 times larger than the one found in our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

According to Akos Bogdan, the lead author from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, this object is thought to have a weight that ranges from 10% to 100% of the total mass of stars in its galaxy. This is significantly larger than the proportion of black holes in our own Milky Way and other nearby galaxies, which is estimated to be only 0.1%.

Priyamvada Natarajan from Yale University, who was involved in the research published in the journal Nature Astronomy, remarked that it is remarkable for such a massive object to exist so early in the history of the universe. An additional article was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Natarajan also expressed surprise at the fact that this object is already situated with its galaxy at such an early stage in the universe.

According to the scientists, the black hole was created when massive gas clouds collapsed in a neighboring galaxy that contained stars. The merging of the two galaxies resulted in the dominance of the black hole.

According to Natarajan, the confirmation of the black hole’s existence through X-ray detection by Chandra leaves no room for doubt. Natarajan explains that the X-rays are a result of gas being pulled into the black hole and accelerating, causing it to emit light in the X-ray spectrum.

She stated that this particular object is classified as a quasar due to its active growth and the intense brightness of its gas.

Scientists believe that the Webb telescope may have detected a black hole that is 29 million years older, but further verification is needed as it has not been observed in X-rays yet. Natarajan anticipates that more ancient black holes will be discovered, potentially not as distant but still far away.

She stated that we’re anticipating a fresh opening in the universe, which, in her opinion, is the initial sign.

The telescopes Webb and Chandra utilized gravitational lensing to enlarge the area of space that contains the galaxy UHZ1 and its black hole. This was achieved by utilizing the light from a nearby cluster of galaxies, located 3.2 billion light-years away from Earth, to magnify UHZ1 and its black hole which are situated even further in the distance.

Natarajan explained that the object is quite faint, but fortunately, nature has magnified it for us.

In 2021, Webb was launched to a distance of 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers), making it the largest and most advanced space telescope for observing the universe in infrared. Chandra, which was launched in 1999, has the ability to see X-rays.

Bogdan expressed his amazement at the fact that Chandra is still making incredible discoveries 24 years after its launch.


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