A team of international astronomers have been hunting for ancient, supermassive black holes ̵
, everyday black hole, containing millions or billions of times that of our sun. These huge cosmic beasts generate mammoth gravitational effects, so you often find supermassive black holes hiding at the center of galaxies, orbited by billions of stars. That's exactly what happens in our home galaxy of the Milky Way.
To find them in the distant parts of the universe, you need to study the light of accreting gases that swirl around them. Because we can't see a black hole, we can see the light, we designate these powerful light sources as "quasars". Down the eyepiece of a telescope they might look more like they are extremely bright – but scientists mostly believe their light comes from falling to a black hole. [Hyper Suprime-] Cam ", mounted to the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, toward the cosmos' darkest corners, surveying the sky over a period of five years. By studying the snapshots, they've been able to pick potential quasar candidates out of the dark. Notably, their method of probing populations of supermassive black holes that are similar in size to the ones we see in today's universe, has given us a window into their origins.
telescopes to confirm their findings. The quasars they've plucked out are from the very early universe, about 13 billion light years away. Practically, that means the researchers are looking into the past at objects more than a billion years after the Big Bang.
" Michael Strauss, who co-authored the paper, in a press release. Notably, the researchers discover a quasar with a much lower brightness than they expected. The features of that particular quasar, HSC J124353.93 + 010038.5, were reported in The Astrophysical Journal Letters in February.
"The quasars we discovered will be an interesting subject for further follow-up observations with current and future facilities," said Yoshiki Matsuoka, lead researcher, in a statement.