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The James Webb Space Telescope will study how the first black hole formed in the “young universe”

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is preparing to begin operations this summer, and one of its many missions will be to search for primordial black holes in the early universe.

a giant black hole It is believed to be located at the center of nearly every large galaxy. these black holes They range from millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun and gobble up any surrounding matter that gets too close.

A recent photo from the Event Horizon Telescope captured an amazing photo Arch view A*the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, and Milky Way. almost James Webb Space Telescope – the largest and most expensive complex space telescope ever built – will help answer how galaxies like ours host such a central supermassive black hole.

Related: The James Webb Telescope: How It Can Reveal Some of the Universe’s Best-Kept Secrets

“The recent interesting discovery is the discovery of supermassive black holes, several billion solar masses in size, that already existed when Universe It was only about 700 million years old — a fraction of its current age of 13.8 billion years,” said Roberto Maiolino, a member of the James Webb Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Spectrophotometer (NIRSpec) instrument science team, at NASA Blog Post. “This is a puzzling result, because at such early ages, there hasn’t been enough time for such massive black holes to grow, according to standard theories.”

A black hole forms when a large star burns through its last fuel and collapses or falls on itself. The density of these objects creates an incredibly strong gravitational force, which pulls on the surrounding dust and gas, causing the black hole to grow.

To help explain how some black holes grow surprisingly large even at a young age, the researchers suggest that black holes collect material at exceptionally high rates. Alternatively, these early black holes may have formed from stellar collisions, merging black holes It is the collapse of primordial gas clouds that have not yet been enriched with chemical elements heavier than helium, Maiolino explained.

The NIRSpec tool On board the James Webb Space Telescope, it is designed to help identify primordial black hole seeds and signatures of “active phases,” during which black holes grow rapidly by consuming much of the surrounding material, which in turn becomes hot and luminous. NIRSpec will help monitor the light emitted by these predatory systems and measure the speed of gas circulating near the black hole’s ancestors, according to a NASA blog.

“Webb is about to open a whole new space of discovery in this region,” Maiolino said. “It is possible that the first black hole seeds may have originally formed in the ‘infant universe’, within a few million years after the great explosion. Webb is the perfect “time machine” to learn about these primitive things. Its exceptional sensitivity makes Webb able to detect a very far distance galaxiesBecause of the time required for the light emitted by the galaxies to travel to us, we will see them as they were in the distant past.”

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