This impossibly massive black hole wasn’t very hungry during the dawn of time

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Science

Using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), astronomers have spotted a supermassive black hole at “cosmic dawn” that seems to be impossibly massive. The confusion comes from the fact that it doesn’t seem like this giant void was feasting on much surrounding matter during that time — but, in order to reach its immense size, one would expect it to have been ravenous when time began.The feeding supermassive black hole, which powers a quasar at the heart of the galaxy J1120+0641, was seen as it was when the universe was just around 5% of its current age. It also has a mass that is over a billion times that of the sun.While it is relatively easy to explain how closer, and thus more recent, supermassive black holes have grown to have billions of solar masses, the merger and feeding processes that facilitate such growth are expected to take something like a billion years. That means finding such supermassive black holes existing before the 13.8 billion-year-old universe was a billion years old is a real dilemma.Since it began operations in the summer of 2022, the JWST has proved particularly efficient at spotting such challenging black holes at cosmic dawn.One theory surrounding the early growth of these voids is that they were engaged in a feeding frenzy called an “ultra-effective feeding mode.” However, the JWST’s observations of the supermassive black hole in J1120+0641 showed no particularly efficient feeding mechanism in the material in close vicinity t …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnUsing the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), astronomers have spotted a supermassive black hole at “cosmic dawn” that seems to be impossibly massive. The confusion comes from the fact that it doesn’t seem like this giant void was feasting on much surrounding matter during that time — but, in order to reach its immense size, one would expect it to have been ravenous when time began.The feeding supermassive black hole, which powers a quasar at the heart of the galaxy J1120+0641, was seen as it was when the universe was just around 5% of its current age. It also has a mass that is over a billion times that of the sun.While it is relatively easy to explain how closer, and thus more recent, supermassive black holes have grown to have billions of solar masses, the merger and feeding processes that facilitate such growth are expected to take something like a billion years. That means finding such supermassive black holes existing before the 13.8 billion-year-old universe was a billion years old is a real dilemma.Since it began operations in the summer of 2022, the JWST has proved particularly efficient at spotting such challenging black holes at cosmic dawn.One theory surrounding the early growth of these voids is that they were engaged in a feeding frenzy called an “ultra-effective feeding mode.” However, the JWST’s observations of the supermassive black hole in J1120+0641 showed no particularly efficient feeding mechanism in the material in close vicinity t …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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