NASA's James Webb Telescope discovers active supermassive black holetext_fields
Washington: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has achieved another remarkable feat by discovering the most distant and active supermassive black hole ever detected.
The agency made this announcement on July 6 and said the new discovery unveils groundbreaking insights into the early universe. This newly found black hole, located in the galaxy CEERS 1019, sheds light on the origins of our own Milky Way galaxy and challenges previous assumptions.
The supermassive black hole in CEERS 1019 is less massive than any other black hole discovered in the early universe. It has been estimated to have formed approximately 570 million years after the Big Bang, making the galaxy itself over 570 million years old. This discovery provides scientists with valuable information about the formation and evolution of galaxies throughout cosmic history.
The James Webb Telescope's observations have revealed that the early universe was home to around 11 galaxies, each with life spans ranging from 470 to 675 million years. NASA also drew attention to the similarities between the newly discovered black hole in CEERS 1019 and the one residing at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. The black hole in CEERS 1019 has a mass roughly 4.6 million times that of the Sun, although it is not as luminous as the black hole in the Milky Way.
While the existence of these massive black holes was known in theory, their direct observation has remained elusive until now. NASA emphasises that there are countless smaller black holes capable of engulfing galaxies, contributing to their formation and evolution. The James Webb Telescope not only aids in the discovery of black holes and galaxies at extreme distances but also enables scientists to gather precise data for verifying and refining their calculations. By studying the gas consumption of black holes, researchers can determine the origin of stars within their respective galaxies.
Astronomer Austin Steven Finkelstein from the University of Texas highlighted the significance of the James Webb Telescope, stating that previous research had mainly relied on theoretical models. However, with the telescope's advanced capabilities, scientists can now observe black holes and galaxies at vast distances and accurately measure their sizes.
When observing CEERS 1019 from a distance, it appears as three distinct bright groups of light rather than a single source. This phenomenon, commonly observed in distant objects, indicates the possibility of galaxy collisions, which increase the likelihood of black hole formation and subsequent star creation. The James Webb Telescope's capabilities hold tremendous potential for generating a wealth of data that will support further exploration and understanding of the universe.
Seiji Fujimoto from the University of Texas suggested that these groundbreaking findings could potentially lead to revisions in our understanding of star and galaxy formation and evolution across both time and space.