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Massive, distant black hole 'shouldn't exist'

Posted on Thursday, 7 December, 2017 | Comment icon 8 comments

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)

Tags: Black Hole

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seanjo on 7 December, 2017, 20:57
I don't think we have any real idea of how our Universe came into being or how old it really is.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Unfortunately on 8 December, 2017, 7:53
This news is absolutely fascinating, great find Waspie! Yet another unexplainable mystery making us rethink things that we already thought were set in stone.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Trelane on 9 December, 2017, 15:16
Such wonders to be discovered! The lady she flirts withus and shows us some secrets yet remains mysterious.
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer on 11 December, 2017, 18:26
Could have this Black Hole absorbed other Galaxies to be this big s young?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Calibeliever on 12 December, 2017, 14:21
The other obvious possibility is they aren't calculating the age of the black hole correctly.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 12 December, 2017, 14:35
That's unlikely unless the entire theory of big bang, expansion of the universe and red shift are wrong.
Comment icon #7 Posted by South Alabam on 12 December, 2017, 15:14
I wonder what the mass of it is now?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Calibeliever on 12 December, 2017, 16:25
It does seem unlikely given the refinement of the process of dating things over the last 60-70 years. But as a scientist, if your findings are wildly out sync with your expectations you have to start with your measurements first. Because either a.the dating is wrong, b.the mass is wrong or c. your theory of formation is wrong. I'd triple check a and b before I start re-writing c.

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