How such a large black hole formed so early remains a total mystery. Image Credit: NASA / Alain Riazuelo
A newly discovered supermassive black hole is challenging what scientists know of the early universe.
The cosmic behemoth, which appears as it did a mere 690 million years after the Big Bang, is around 800 million times the mass of our Sun - much larger than it should be for its relatively young age.
"This is the only object we have observed from this era," said Prof Robert Simcoe of MIT. "It has an extremely high mass, and yet the universe is so young that this thing shouldn't exist."
"The universe was just not old enough to make a black hole that big. It's very puzzling."
The find suggests that some other, completely unknown, process must have been at work.
"If you start with a seed like a big star, and let it grow at the maximum possible rate, and start at the moment of the Big Bang, you could never make something with 800 million solar masses - it's unrealistic," said Professor Simcoe.
"So there must be another way that it formed. And how exactly that happens, nobody knows."
Source: Independent | Comments (8)