The most ancient great void ever found is so big it defies explanation.

This active supermassive great void, or quasar, boasts a mass of 1.6 billion suns and lies at the heart of a galaxy more than 13 billion light-years from Earth. The quasar, dubbed J0313-1806, dates back to when deep space was just 670 million years old, or about 5 percent of the universe’s present age. That makes J0313-1806 two times heavier and 20 million years older than the last record-holder for earliest recognized great void ( SN: 12/ 6/17).

Finding such a huge supermassive black hole so early in deep space’s history obstacles astronomers’ understanding of how these cosmic beasts very first formed, researchers reported January 12 at a virtual conference of the American Astronomical Society and in a paper posted at on January 8.

Supermassive black holes are believed to grow from smaller sized seed black holes that gobble up matter. The typical way seed black holes form– through the collapse of huge stars– can only make black holes up to a couple of thousand times as huge as the sun.

A colossal seed great void might have formed through the direct collapse of huge quantities of primordial hydrogen gas, states study coauthor Xiaohui Fan, likewise an astronomer at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Or possibly J0313-1806’s seed began little, forming through excellent collapse, and great voids can grow a lot faster than researchers believe. “Both possibilities exist, however neither is proven,” Fan says. “We have to look much earlier [in the universe] and search for much less enormous great voids to see how these things grow.”


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