Ultrabright Quasar Lit Up the Early Universe

The discovery gives scientists a better look at the universe's early years and helps them understand how supermassive black holes form and evolve.

For instance, despite searching for over a decade, astronomers have found only two quasars located more than 13 billion light-years away, Pentericci told Live Science.

This gravitational lensing, which occurs thanks to Einstein's theory of general relativity, magnifies the brightness of the distant quasar, thereby making it visible to astronomers.

Credit: NASA, ESA, Xiaohui Fan (University of Arizona) The spectroscopic data also allowed the researchers to estimate the mass of the quasar's central supermassive black hole; they calculated it at around 700 million times that of the sun.

While the mass of the newfound quasar's black hole means it's large for the early universe, it's not among the biggest, Fan told Live Science.

Astronomers can then decode quasars' light to learn about the material located between galaxies that is much too faint to see directly.

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