CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Scientists have discovered the oldest black hole yet, formed a mere 470 million years after the Big Bang.
The findings, published Monday, confirm what until now were theories that supermassive black holes existed at the dawn of the universe. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory teamed up to make the observations.
Given the universe is 13.7 billion years old, that puts the age of this black hole at 13.2 billion years.
Even more astounding to scientists, this black hole is a whopper — 10 times bigger than the black hole in our own Milky Way.
It's believed to weigh anywhere from 10% to 100% the mass of all the stars in its galaxy. That is nowhere near the miniscule ratio of the black holes in our Milky Way and other nearby galaxies, scientists said.
“It's just really early on in the universe to be such a behemoth," said Yale University's Priyamvada Natarajan, who took part in the study published in Nature Astronomy.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.