An international team of astronomers has discovered 83 "quasars", extremely luminous active galactic nucleus powered by supermassive black holes in the distant universe, from a time when the universe was less than 10 per cent of its present age.
Using the massive Subaru Telescope, located at the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii, the scientists from Japan, Taiwan and and the US, focussed their attention on objects located about 13 billion light years away from Earth.
The finding increases the number of black holes known at that epoch considerably and reveals, for the first time, how common they are in the universe's history.
"We will also learn about formation and early evolution of supermassive black holes, by comparing the measured number density and luminosity distribution with predictions from theoretical models," Matsuoka said.
The study also provides new insight into the effect of black holes on the physical state of gas in the early universe in its first billion years.
Supermassive black holes, found at the centres of galaxies, can be millions or even billions times more massive than the sun, and were likely born in the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang that took place 13.8 billion years ago.
"Understanding how black holes can form in the early universe, and just how common they are, is a challenge for our cosmological models," Strauss said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)