Astronomers have discovered 83 supermassive black holes birthed by the universe in its infancy.
More precisely, the researchers have detected quasars, or huge, luminous disks of gases and dust that surround supermassive black holes. (The black holes themselves emit no light or energy, of course, though friction from the matter that swirls around and ultimately into a black hole’s “mouth” does spit out immense light.) The quasars and their central black holes are 13 billion light-years away from Earth, meaning scientists are seeing the objects now as they appeared only 800 million years after the universe formed.
Prior to the new discovery, which was made using Japan’s Subaru Telescope, only 17 supermassive black holes were known from the region surveyed.
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author: Stephanie Pappas