Distant, but Bright
Illustration courtesy M. Kornmesser, ESO
A black hole two billion times as massive as the sun spits out jets of radiation in an artist’s impression of ULAS J1120 0641, the most distant quasar yet discovered. The object was described in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.
Quasars are very bright, distant galaxies that are believed to have actively feeding supermassive black holes at their hearts. Because of the time it takes light to travel over such vast reaches of space, astronomers at the European Southern Observatory calculate that they’re seeing this quasar as it existed just 770 million years after the big bang, which is thought to have occurred about 13.7 billion years ago.