Astronomers from Japan, Taiwan, and Princeton University discover 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes in distant universe

Astronomers from Japan, Taiwan, and Princeton University have discovered 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes in the distant universe, which were formed when the universe was only 5% of its current age. These quasars are lying 13 billion light-years away from the Earth. The team used data taken with ‘Hyper Suprime-Cam’ (HSC) instrument, mounted on the Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, which is located on the summit of Maunakea in Hawaii. This finding, published in The Astrophysical Journal, increases the number of black holes known at that epoch considerably, and reveals, for the first time, how common they are early in the universe’s history. It also provides new insight into the effect of black holes on the physical state of gas in the early universe in its first billion years. Supermassive black holes, found at the centers of galaxies, can be millions or even billions of times more massive than the Sun. While they are prevalent today, it is unclear when they first formed, and how many existed in the distant early universe. A supermassive black hole becomes visible when gas accretes onto it, causing it to shine as a quasar.

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