Scientists have made a groundbreaking discovery, finding the oldest black hole ever recorded. This incredible finding sheds light on the existence of supermassive black holes during the early stages of the universe, just 470 million years after the Big Bang.
The observations were made using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, launched in 2021, and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which has been in orbit since 1999. These powerful space observatories have allowed scientists to uncover significant information about the black hole.
This ancient black hole, estimated to be 13.2 billion years old, is a staggering 10 times larger than the black hole in our Milky Way galaxy. It is believed to weigh between 10% to 100% the mass of all the stars in its galaxy, making it an exceptionally massive cosmic entity.
The scientists were astonished to discover that this black hole formed so early in the universe’s history. They hypothesize that it originated from collapsed gas clouds in a neighboring galaxy. Chandra’s X-ray detection confirmed its classification as a black hole.
Furthermore, the black hole is classified as a quasar, actively growing and emitting bright gas. This aspect highlights its continuous evolution and importance in shaping the universe as we know it.
The Webb telescope also detected another potential black hole, which could be even older than the one identified. However, further verification is required to confirm its existence.
Gravitational lensing, a phenomenon where gravity bends light, was utilized by Webb and Chandra to observe the black hole and the distant galaxy where it resides. These observations provide valuable insights into the early stages of the universe.
The findings made by Chandra, after 24 years since its launch, are considered remarkable by scientists. The longevity and success of the observatory have further contributed to our understanding of the cosmos. However, the significance of this discovery goes beyond individual telescopes, showcasing the remarkable advancements in space exploration and the pursuit of knowledge.
With these groundbreaking observations, scientists have taken a significant step forward in uncovering the mysteries of the universe’s origins. The existence of such an ancient and massive black hole confirms the role of black holes in shaping the cosmos since its early stages. As our understanding of the universe deepens, it is clear that there is still much to explore and discover.
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