Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The most distant super-massive black hole ever discovered

Note - this posted yesterday but blogger was well and truly broken, so reposting now.

Artist's impression of the newly discovered quasar from the ESO press release.

I mentioned yesterday there was going to be a press release today, in fact there have been more than one but all are based on the discovery of a redshift seven quasar using UKIRT and subsequent followups at other telescopes. Just google "ulas quasar" and you'll see the news is everywhere although first point of call should be to the e-astronomers blog post (Andy Lawrence) as he's the head of UKIDSS, the survey in which the quasar was found. A little physics background can be also found at Peter Coles' blog.

This is a great result for both UKIDSS and UKIRT, something everyone in the respective teams should be proud of. Although not the most distant object ever detected (it's certainly way up in the list though) its redshift means it was formed not long after the big bang yet if our understanding of the physics is correct, there really wasn't enough time for an object as massive as this to form. As is often the case, an exiting science discovery leaves us with even more questions to answer.

I'd include the video from the ESO press release including the strange underwater sounds but Blogger is broken yet again and can't upload things properly. The video can be seen in Peter's blog. Remember, in space no one can hear you scream.

PS. It's now on youtube so enjoy the strange sound effects!

1 comment:

gigihawaii said...

Wow! Thanks for the show.