New Surveys Peer Through Dust to Reveal Supermassive Black Holes

New Surveys Peer Through Dust to Reveal Supermassive Black Holes

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Scientists at the University of Cambridge have used cutting-edge infrared surveys of the sky to discover a new population of enormous, rapidly growing supermassive black holes in the early Universe. The black holes were previously undetected because they sit cocooned within thick layers of dust. The new study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, has shown however that they are emitting vast amounts of radiation through violent interactions with their host galaxies. 

The most extreme object in the study is a supermassive black hole called ULASJ1234+0907. This object, located in the direction of the constellation of Virgo, is so far away that the light from it has taken 11 billion light years to reach us, so we see it as it appeared in the early universe. The monster black hole has more than 10 billion times the mass of the Sun and 10,000 times the mass of the supermassive black hole in our own Milky Way, making it one of the most massive black holes ever seen. The research indicates that that there may be as many as 400 such giant black holes in the part of the universe that we can observe.

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