A Massive Discovery

More than 13 billion lightyears away, a supermassive black hole is leading scientists to second guess their past “facts” on the matter.


Science Tech Daily

The far away celestial object may have major implications for the scientific community.

Brandon Dosen, Columnist

Newly discovered supermassive black hole, named J0313-1806, was discovered 13 billion light years away, making it the most distant quasar to date. A quasar, as stated by Dictionary.com, is “one of over a thousand known extragalactic objects, starlike in appearance and having spectra with characteristically large redshifts, that are thought to be the most distant and most luminous objects in the universe.” In fact, quasar J0313-1806 is at least ten trillion times more luminous than our sun and 1000 times more than the Milky Way Galaxy, according to Microsoft News.

But while all quasars are known to be luminous, what makes this one so special is its age. Microsoft News stated that the quasar was made during the earliest years of the universe. Being made just 670 million years after the universe’s existence, the supermassive black hole gets to boast being one of the oldest things in the universe. For scope, most scientists agree that the universe is 13.8 billion years old, and our planet is 4.54 billion years old, meaning that the quasar is older than what you are living on by 8.59 billion years.

Nonetheless, this quasar isn’t just something cool to look at. The discovery of this supermassive black hole has led some scientists to question previous knowledge on black holes. According to Microsoft News, what scientists found through their studies was that “if the supermassive black hole had formed only 100 million years after the Big Bang and grew as fast as possible it would need at least 10,000 solar masses to begin with.” This founding proved that there had to be some other way to create such a quasar. Professor Xiaohui Fan also stated, “in this case, one that involves vast quantities of primordial, cold hydrogen gas directly collapsing into a seed black hole.” But the interest in this quasar doesn’t stop there. Because of its age and the formation, some scientists believe that studying it could give some secrets from the distant past.

Scientists aren’t planning to just stop the research there. Researchers plan to use the James Webb Telescope to find out more; however the new telescope isn’t set to be launched into orbit until October 31, 2021.