European astronomers have detected light from a very bright, old galaxy with a super-massive black hole at its center, which they claim will help explain the details of the beginning of the universe.
This phenomenon is known as quasar. These are extremely bright, but very distant galaxies with a powerful black hole in their core.The most distant quasar ever seen has sent light 870 million years after the Big Bang, which is believed to have occurred about 13.7 billion years ago.This record has now been broken by European astronomers who, after five years of research, have found a quasar that emitted light 770 million years after the birth of the cosmos.
The quasar under the name ULAS J1120 0641 has a “red shift”, ie. a signature of red light indicating its distance, of 8.6, meaning that the light has traveled to us 12.9 billion years ago.
“This quasar is a kind of probe of the early Universe,” team leader, astrophysicist Stephen Warren of Imperial College London, told AFP.
“It is a very rare celestial body that will help us understand how super massive black holes grew several hundred million years after the Big Bang,” he added.
Measurements show that the black hole of a quasar has a mass that is about two billion times larger than the Sun, which is a size that is difficult to reconcile with current theories.Super massive black holes, according to existing hypotheses, took billions of years to grow, gradually sucking matter out of their environment.The quasar was created in the last period of “reionization”, the era of the creation of the first stars.
During the research, the results of which were published in the journal Nature, astronomers used the European Large Telescope in the Andes in Chile, as well as the British Infrared Telescope in Hawaii.