Bright galaxies in early universe suggest rapid growth of supermassive black holes
Scott Wiessinger/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
WASHINGTON — Scientists have spotted a quintet of record-breaking blazars. The five gamma-ray blazars — supremely bright galaxies that host supermassive black holes — are the most distant ever spotted, at more than 11.7 billion light-years away.
As a gamma-ray blazar’s black hole swallows up matter, bright jets shoot out of the galaxy at close to the speed of light. If a jet happens to be pointed at Earth, the galaxy gleams brilliantly in the sky in the high-energy light of gamma rays.
Researchers spotted the far-flung blazars using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomer Roopesh Ojha of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., reported January 30 at a meeting of the American Physical Society. The new blazars had whopper black holes, with the biggest weighing in at 7 billion times the mass of the sun.
The farthest blazar is