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Most distant quasar raises questions

Extreme age challenges theories of black hole formation

Astronomers peering at the early universe have glimpsed the most distant quasar yet. Powered by a black hole of 2 billion solar masses, the quasar appears as it did 12.9 billion years ago, when the universe as humans know it was just beginning to emerge from the Big Bang.

The supermassive black hole is pulling enormous clumps of matter into its gravitational clutches. As a result, the quasar emits 60 trillion times as much light as the sun, an international team reports in the June 30 Nature.

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