The universe still has an infinite number of secrets. However, little by little, scientists manage to discover more. Recently, astronomers from Princeton University, Japan, and Taiwan found 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes in the early universe.
The monster black holes were formed when the universe was just 5% of its current age. That is an incredible discovery, and it can help scientists understand black holes better.
“It is remarkable that such massive dense objects were able to form so soon after the Big Bang,” explained Michael Strauss, a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University who is one of the co-authors of the study. “Understanding how supermassive black holes can form in the early universe, and just how common they are, is a challenge for our cosmological models.”
Supermassive black holes were widespread in the early universe
The discovery shows us just how common supermassive black holes were in the early universe, and how they are an essential part of the universe history. Astronomers still don’t know precisely when black holes first formed. The data used by the team was taken with the “Hyper Suprime-Cam” (HSC) which is an instrument mounted on the Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, that can be found on the summit of Maunakea in Hawaii.
The reionization of hydrogen is what made it stop being neutral. However, scientists are not sure what caused the massive amount of energy which is needed to produce the reionization. It was initially believed that there were numerous quasars in the early universe and their integrated radiation reionized the universe.
“However, the number of quasars we observed shows that this is not the case,” explained Robert Lupton, a senior research scientist in astrophysical sciences. “The number of quasars seen is significantly less than needed to explain the reionization.”