Scientists discovered quasar SDSS J0 100+2802 with central black hole mass of 12 billion solar mass

The findings were published in the journal Nature on 26 February 2015 and Prof. Xue-Bing Wu at Peking University is the lead author of the study.

Feb 26, 2015 13:14 IST
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The international team of scientists led by astronomers from Peking University in China and from the University of Arizona discovered the brightest quasar SDSS J0 100+2802 with the most massive black hole of 12 billion solar-mass.

The findings were published in the journal Nature on 26 February 2015 and Prof. Xue-Bing Wu at Peking University is the lead author of the study.

Findings of the Study
• The quasar named SDSS J0100+2802 with the luminosity of 420 trillion suns is at a distance of 12.8 billion light-years from Earth.
• The quasar is seven times brighter than the most distant quasar known which is 13 billion years away
• The quasar dates back to the end of an important cosmic event that is referred as the epoch of reionization. Re-ionization epoch is the cosmic dawn when light from the earliest generations of galaxies and quasars is thought to have ended the cosmic dark ages and transformed the universe into how we see it today.

How it was discovered?
The quasar was first discovered by 2.4-meter Lijiang Telescope in Yunnan, China, making it the only quasar ever discovered by a 2-meter telescope at such distance.

Following the initial discovery, two telescopes 8.4-meter Large Binocular Telescope and 6.5-meter Multiple Mirror Telescope in southern Arizona did the heavy lifting in determining the distance and mass of the black hole.

Additional observations with the 6.5-meter Magellan Telescope in Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, and the 8.2-meter Gemini North Telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, confirmed the results.

Importance of the discovery

  • The quasar with its super-massive black hole provides a unique laboratory to the study of the mass assembly and galaxy formation around the most massive black holes in the early universe.
  • Further, it will allow the scientists to make unprecedented measurements of the temperature, ionization state and metal content of the intergalactic medium at the epoch of reionization.
  • The discovery of this quasar marks an important step in understanding how quasars have evolved only 900 million years after the Big Bang which is thought to have happened 13.7 billion years ago.

About Quasars

  • Discovered in 1963, quasars are the most powerful objects beyond the Milky Way galaxy.
  • They beam vast amounts of energy across space as the super-massive black hole in their centre sucks in matter from its surroundings.
  • Till now, astronomers have discovered more than 200000 quasars, with ages ranging from 0.7 billion years after the Big Bang till today.

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