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San Francisco, July 09 – Researchers using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have discovered the most distant active supermassive black hole to date.
The black hole is located in the galaxy CEERS 1019.
“The galaxy, CEERS 1019, existed just over 570 million years after the big bang, and its black hole is less massive than any other yet identified in the early universe. Not only that, they’ve easily ‘shaken out’ two more black holes that are also on the smaller side, and existed 1 and 1.1 billion years after the big bang,” NASA said.
According to the space agency, the black hole within CEERS 1019 is more similar to the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, which is 4.6 million times the mass of the Sun.
“Looking at this distant object with this telescope is a lot like looking at data from black holes that exist in galaxies near our own,” Rebecca Larson of the University of Texas at Austin, who led this discovery, said in a statement.
Moreover, NASA spotted another pair of small black holes — the first, within galaxy CEERS 2782, and the second in galaxy CEERS 746.
“Researchers have long known that there must be lower mass black holes in the early universe. Webb is the first observatory that can capture them so clearly,” team member Dale Kocevski of Colby College explained.
“Now we think that lower mass black holes might be all over the place, waiting to be discovered,” he added.
Moreover, the NASA telescope spotted 11 galaxies that formed when the universe was 470 to 675 million years old, which is significant because researchers predicted Webb would identify fewer galaxies at these distances.