Nov 14, 2023

Princeton astrophysicist helps find record-smashing black hole born in the universe’s infancy

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

An international team of astrophysicists including Princeton’s Andy Goulding has discovered the most distant supermassive black hole ever found, using two NASA space telescopes: the Chandra X-ray Observatory (Chandra) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

The black hole, which is an estimated 10 to 100 million times more massive than our sun, is 13.2 billion light-years away in the galaxy UHZ-1, which means the telescopes are peering back in time to when the universe was “extremely young,” Goulding said — only about 450 million years old.

“This is one of the most dramatic discoveries to come out of the James Webb Space Telescope” and the discovery of the most distant growing supermassive black hole known, said Michael Strauss, professor and chair of astrophysical sciences at Princeton, who discussed the findings with the researchers but was not part of the research team. “Indeed, it completely smashes the old record.”

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