Hubble has just discovered a unique object in the Universe which may be the first supermassive black hole

Credit image: ESA - Artist’s Impression of GNz7q
Credit image: ESA - Artist’s Impression of GNz7q

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 13 April 2022, at 09:56 am Los Angeles time

ESA (European Space Agency) announces that a group of scientists used data collected by Hubble, but also from other telescopes on Earth to discover an object truly unique and very distant in our Universe.

The new discovery could explain a lot of phenomena that could have happened when the Universe was not even 8% of its current age.

For example, we might learn something new about how stars formed in galaxies back then, or we might have some early information about the first supermassive black hole.

Astronomers have long struggled to uncover the mysteries of supermassive black holes, but now we know so little about them that in some parts we can't even understand them.

However, perhaps this new discovery will help astronomers get a better idea of ​​supermassive black holes.

Researchers have found a "collectible" object in our universe, namely a supermassive black hole called the GNz7q, and is believed to be the first fast-growing black hole found in the early universe.

Scientists have used NASA / ESA Hubble Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys to observe the compact ultraviolet emission from the black hole's storage disk.

They also said it formed just 750 million years after the Big Bang. It may seem like a lot, but it is one of the oldest objects found in the early universe.

Research also shows that the host galaxy of the black hole forms stars at a rate of 1600 solar masses per year.

"Our analysis suggests that GNz7q is the first example of a rapidly-growing black hole in the dusty core of a starburst galaxy at an epoch close to the earliest super massive black hole known in the Universe," explains Seiji Fujimoto, an astronomer at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and lead author of the paper describing this discovery. "The object's properties across the electromagnetic spectrum are in excellent agreement with predictions from theoretical simulations."

"GNz7q provides a direct connection between these two rare populations and provides a new avenue towards understanding the rapid growth of supermassive black holes in the early days of the Universe," continued Fujimoto. "Our discovery is a precursor of the supermassive black holes we observe at later epochs."

"GNz7q is a unique discovery that was found just at the centre of a famous, well-studied sky field - showing that big discoveries can often be hidden just in front of you," commented Gabriel Brammer, another astronomer from the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen and a member of the team behind this result. "It's unlikely that discovering GNz7q within the relatively small GOODS-N survey area was just 'dumb luck' rather the prevalence of such sources may in fact be significantly higher than previously thought."

"Fully characterising these objects and probing their evolution and underlying physics in much greater detail will become possible with the James Webb Space Telescope." concluded Fujimoto. "Once in regular operation, Webb will have the power to decisively determine how common these rapidly growing black holes truly are."


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