Dozens of ancient supermassive black holes found in deep space – Metro.co.uk


Astronomers have spotted 82 supermassive black holes by peering so far into space they were actually looking at the very beginning of our universe.

The furthest of these ‘very distant’ dark behemoths is lurking 13 billion light-years away.

Although the monsters cannot be seen directly, the presence of black holes can be detected thanks to their greed.

When a supermassive black holes feasts on nearby matter, it releases vast amounts of energy in the form of bright light – which is a phenomenon called a quasar.

This lonely ‘quasar’ spotted more than 13 billion light-years away indicates the presence of a supermassive black hole

And because the cluster of hungry voids is 13 billion light years away, it took 13 billion years to reach us.

The universe is 13.8 billion years old, meaning the holes formed during an early era of its existence.

Supermassive black holes are found at the centres of galaxies, and have masses millions or even billions of times that of the sun,’ the National Institutes of Natural Sciences wrote in a statement.

‘While they are prevalent in the modern universe, it is unclear when they first formed, and how many existed in the early universe.

An artist’s impression of a black hole (Image: Getty)

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‘We cannot observe black holes directly, but when a large quantity of matter falls into a supermassive black hole it releases energy as a bright light that can be seen from across the Universe.

‘This phenomenon is known as a quasar.’

Analysis showed the distance between the holes is one billion light years, which should help to give you a sense of the mindboggling scale of the universe.

A supermassive hole sits at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way, which contains between 200 and 400 billion stars and at least 100 billion planets.

In the rest of the universe, there are at least a trillion galaxies.

Which is a lot to think about.





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