Ancient Black Hole Seen by Webb

Ancient Black Hole Discovered by James Webb Space Telescope

The University of Cambridge recently announced that an international team of researchers, led by the university, has observed a black hole dating back to approximately 400 million years after the Big Bang using the James Webb Space Telescope. This ancient black hole has a mass several million times that of the Sun, posing a challenge to existing black hole theories as the presence of such a massive black hole in the early universe contradicts current understanding.

Ancient Black Hole

The black hole is located in a galaxy called GN-z11, which is a compact galaxy approximately one percent the size of the Milky Way. This ancient black hole is fiercely consuming its host galaxy. When surrounding matter falls into the black hole, a portion of it is ejected at high speeds, clearing the surrounding gas. This process suppresses the formation of stars and the development of the host galaxy. As the black hole devours the surrounding gas, it also forms a swirling accretion disk. Astronomers detect the black hole through the intense light emitted from the accretion disk surrounding it.

According to the standard cosmological model, supermassive black holes are formed from the remnants of dying stars, which, after collapsing, may form a black hole with a mass about 100 times that of the Sun. If the black hole were to grow as expected by the model, this newly discovered ancient black hole would require approximately 1 billion years to reach the size observed by the Webb Space Telescope. However, based on observations, this black hole existed when the universe was less than 1 billion years old.

The size of this newly discovered black hole suggests that it may have formed in a different manner, either inherently large or consuming matter at a rate several times higher than previously assumed.

The related paper has been published in the British journal “Nature”. Roberto Maiolino, a professor at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and the first author of the paper, stated that this discovery was made possible by the significant leap in sensitivity of the Webb Space Telescope, particularly in infrared observations, indicating the potential to observe even older black holes in the future. The research contributes to a deeper understanding of the various ways in which black holes may form.

(Source: CCTV News App)

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