Earliest Supermassive Black Hole and Quasar in the Universe

Earliest Supermassive Black Hole and Quasar in the Universe
Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science via AP

The most distant quasar known has been discovered. The quasar, seen just 670 million years after the Big Bang, is 1000 times more luminous than the Milky Way, and is powered by the earliest known supermassive black hole, which weighs in at more than 1.6 billion times the mass of the Sun. Seen more than 13 billion years ago, this fully formed distant quasar is also the earliest yet discovered, providing astronomers with insight into the formation of massive galaxies in the early universe.

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