Chandra observation of J1306+illustration
Credit: NASA/CXC/D.Schwartz & S.Virani; Illustration: CXC/M.Weiss

Black Hole Too Young?

The inset above shows a detection (lower right) by the Chandra X-ray Observatory of X-rays from a distant quasar called SDSSp J1306. These X-rays are produced around a supermassive black hole (as massive as about 1 million suns) at the quasar's core. The illustration shows how X-rays might be formed around such a supermassive black hole: some from a large accretion disk, some from hot gas in a "corona" around the black hole, and some by energizing low-energy ambient photons. Although this quasar was formed only about 1 billion years after the Big Bang, the Chandra observation shows that the supermassive black hole has characteristics which are very similar to other supermassive black holes in other more nearby quasars. How a mature black hole like the one seen in SDSSp J1306 formed so quickly after the Big Bang is a mystery.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:11:21 EDT