The Oldest Black Hole Ever Found


Galaxy GN-z11. Credit Hubblesite / Wikimedia Commons

Astronomers have discovered the oldest black hole ever observed, dating 400 million years after the Big Bang.

Scientists discovered a really old black hole in the early universe, making them wonder how such huge things formed back then. This black hole is from about 400 million years after the Big Bang, which is over 13 billion years ago. To put it in perspective, the whole universe is 13.77 billion years old.

This ancient black hole, in the center of the galaxy called GN-z11, is a speck of light far, far away. GN-z11 is only 1% the size of our Milky Way, and the super-old black hole is hanging out right at its center.

Galaxy GN-z11 

Galaxy GN-z11. Credit Hubblesite / Wikimedia Commons

Professor Roberto Maiolino said:

“It’s very early in the universe to see a black hole this massive, so we’ve got to consider other ways they might form. Very early galaxies were extremely gas-rich so that they would have been like a buffet for black holes.”

Webb’s incredible vision might uncover more ancient black holes from the early universe in the coming years.

Identifying similar black holes to the one at the center of GN-z11—smaller and super old ones—could provide insights into the process of how black holes come into existence and grow.

black hole in the early universe

 Galaxy GN-z11. Credit Hubblesite / Wikimedia Commons

The researchers shared their findings in the journal Nature.

By |Jan 18, 2024

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