Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Travel News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TIME AND SPACE
A Black Hole Behemoth at the Edge of Cosmic Dawn
by Staff Writers
Tucson, AZ (SPX) Dec 06, 2017


The new super-massive black hole J1342+0928 (yellow star), which resides in a mostly neutral universe at the edge of cosmic dawn, is more distant than any other found to date (yellow dots). Image Credit: Jinyi Yang, University of Arizona; Reidar Hahn, Fermilab; M. Newhouse NOAO/AURA/NSF

Supermassive black holes lurk at the centers of many galaxies. While some supermassive black holes - like the one at the center of our own galaxy - live quiet lives, occasionally snacking on a star or two, others feed voraciously, consuming gas and stars and growing rapidly in mass.

To understand when supermassive black holes first appeared, astronomers scan the skies for actively-feeding black holes (known as "quasars") from the universe's distant past. The latest discovery, by a team led by Eduardo Banados (Carnegie Observatories) and published in the journal Nature, is a record-breaker: J1342+0928, the most distant quasar known.

The new quasar is spotted at a redshift of 7.54, when the universe was only 690 million years old, or 5% of its current age. The universe was rapidly changing at this time. The first galaxies were appearing, and their energetic radiation had begun to ionize the surrounding intergalactic gas, illuminating and forever transforming the universe from neutral to ionized. The discovery that the new quasar resides in a primarily neutral universe places it solidly in this era, at the edge of cosmic dawn.

Despite its young age, the quasar harbors a whopper of a black hole, 800 million times the mass of the Sun.

For coauthor Xiaohui Fan (University of Arizona), it is amazing to discover so massive a black hole so early in cosmic history. "The new quasar is itself one of the first galaxies, and yet it already harbors a behemoth black hole as massive as others in the present-day universe!" he remarked. The discovery challenges our understanding of the early growth of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies.

NOAO and Gemini Data Critical to the Discovery
Quasars like J1342+0928 are rare. The study that revealed the existence of J1342+0928 searched one-tenth of the entire sky, yielding only one quasar at this epoch. To pick out these rare sources from the millions of sources in the sky, the research team employed a clever selection technique. They used archival data to search for sources that are bright in the infrared (beyond 1 micron) but undetected in the z-band (just shortward of 1 micron).

Deep z-band data covering a large swath of sky was therefore critical to the study. Luckily just such a data set is now available from the DECam Legacy Survey (DECaLS) that is being carried out with the Dark Energy Camera on the Blanco 4-m telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

The research team also used infrared data sets from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) Large Area Survey. Spectra taken with the near-infrared spectrograph on the Gemini North Telescope were used to measure the mass of the black hole.

"Paradoxically, the non-detection of this source in the DECaLS data is what makes it so interesting and identifies it as a very distant object," explained David Schlegel (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), one of the co-leads of the DECaLS survey.

Commenting on the research team's use of the archival DECaLS data, Arjun Dey (National Optical Astronomy Observatory), the other co-lead of the DECaLS survey, remarked, "DECaLS was designed from the ground up as a public project, so it is wonderful to see the data enabling exciting discoveries that are pushing the boundaries of the known universe."

"A significant discovery like this is the hoped-for result of NSF Astronomy's investment in facilities, major surveys, and extraordinary investigator teams with targeted follow-up," said Richard Green, Director of the NSF's Division of Astronomical Sciences. Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory is part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). Both NOAO and Gemini are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

From a Precocious Youth to Staid Middle Age?
Coauthor Fan speculates that the new quasar, as remarkable as it is, is "probably just an early bloomer. If it is located in a denser than average part of the universe, it could get an earlier start in life and grow more quickly." Fan suspects that despite its precocious youth, J1342+0928 eventually settled down to life at a more measured pace, becoming a more typical supermassive black hole at the center of a large elliptical galaxy.

What's Next?
The reported result is part of a longer term search for the earliest quasars. The research team is adopting a similar strategy in its exploration of a larger area of sky to track down and study the earliest quasars. How long will J1342+0928 remain the record holder? Only time will tell!

"An 800 Million Solar Mass Black Hole in a Significantly Neutral Universe at Redshift 7.5," Eduardo Banados et al., 2017 Dec. 7, Nature

TIME AND SPACE
ALMA discovers infant stars surprisingly near galaxy's supermassive black hole
Charlottesville VA (SPX) Dec 04, 2017
At the center of our galaxy, in the immediate vicinity of its supermassive black hole, is a region wracked by powerful tidal forces and bathed in intense ultraviolet light and X-ray radiation. These harsh conditions, astronomers surmise, do not favor star formation, especially low-mass stars like our sun. Surprisingly, new observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) ... read more

Related Links
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Understanding Time and Space


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

TIME AND SPACE
TIME AND SPACE
EU exempts fuel for ExoMars mission from Russian sanctions

Winter wanderings put Opportunity at 28 Miles on the odometer

Opportunity Greets Winter Solstice

NASA builds its next Mars rover mission

TIME AND SPACE
December's 'supermoon' expected to be bigggest, brightest of 2017

Japan signals growing support for Deep Space Gateway concept

Moon's crust underwent resurfacing after forming from magma ocean

Russia tests new spaceship set to deliver people, cargo to moon

TIME AND SPACE
Jupiter Blues

Research bolsters possibility of plate tectonics on Europa

Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected

Jupiter's Stunning Southern Hemisphere

TIME AND SPACE
First Light for Next Generation Planet Hunter ESPRESSO

An Orbital Dance May Help Preserve Oceans on Icy Worlds

The answer to planetary habitability is blowing in the stellar wind

Scallops have 200 eyes, which function like a telescope: study

TIME AND SPACE
ISRO eyes one rocket launch a month in 2018

Russia to build launch pad for super heavy-lift carrier by 2028

Flat-Earther's self-launch plan hits a snag

Mechanisms are critical to all space vehicles

TIME AND SPACE
Nation 'leads world' in remote sensing technology

China plans for nuclear-powered interplanetary capacity by 2040

China plans first sea based launch by 2018

China's reusable spacecraft to be launched in 2020

TIME AND SPACE
B612 Asteroid Institute provides valuable analysis to discovery of First Interstellar Object

Metal asteroid Psyche is all set for an early visit from NASA

Selected asteroids detected by GAIA between August 2014 And May 2016

NASA telescope studies quirky comet 45P




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement