Ancient Supermassive Black Hole Beam Blazar
Officially known as PSO J030947.49+271757.3, scientists have come across the an ancient “blazar,” or a galaxy with a supermassive black hole that is sending out massive amounts of light, roughly 13 billion light years away. This supermassive black hole feeds on large volumes of infalling gas, dust, as well as stars, and as this material falls towards it, things becomes extremely hot and energetic, sparking the release of luminous jets of matter / radiation that travel close to the speed of light. This transformation results in explosive beams that are forceful enough to go right through galaxy clusters. Read more for a video and additional information.

PSO J039047 boasts a redshift value of 6.1, the largest ever observed for a black hole and due to it being 13 billion light-years away, it was firing a beam of radiation toward Earth less than 1-billion years after the big bang. The team suspect that there could be 100 other objects like PSO J030947, but they might all be quasars with beams pointed in various directions.

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The central point of our discovery is that the observation of PSO J0309+27 allows us to quantify, for the first time, the number of AGN with powerful relativistic jets present in the primordial universe…there must be 100 similar AGN with the jets pointed elsewhere, and therefore too weak to be seen directly. The spectrum that appeared before our eyes confirmed first that PSO J0309+27 is actually an AGN, or a galaxy whose central nucleus is extremely bright due to the presence, in its center, of a supermassive black hole fed by the gas and the stars it engulfs,” said Silvia Belladitta, a graduate student at the University of Insubria in Italy.