Super black hole a “headache” for astronomers
June 29, 2011
World Science staff
Astronomers have found a mammoth object that smashes records for distance and brightness and could shed light on a never-seen early stage of cosmic history. But it also deepens a conundrum.
Current physical theories don’t account for such huge objects appearing as early in the history of the universe as this one is. The time of its appearance can be estimated by its distance.
“This gives astronomers a headache,” said Daniel Mortlock of Imperial College London, one of the discoverers and lead author of a paper reporting the find in the June 30 issue of the research journal Nature.
“It’s difficult to understand,” he explained, how something “a billion times more massive than the Sun can have grown so early in the history of the universe. It’s like rolling a snowball down the hill and suddenly you find that it’s 20 feet across.”
This isn’t the first time that problem has come up; astronomers have been working on theories to address it. But the new object, the brightest known by far so early in the history of the universe, is perhaps the most dramatic example of the problem.
There are pictures for the stupid amongst us. ;D