A quasar from the early universe could help us understand how the biggest black holes form and when the universe had its last major transformation

A quasar has been spotted 13 billion years away from us. It’s the farthest one we’ve ever seen, and it already existed 690 million years after the birth of the universe. Finding a quasar – a supermassive black hole with a bright disc of material circling it – from so long ago indicates that huge black holes must have formed quickly in the universe’s youth. The quasar’s strange light could also help us understand how the cosmos evolved.

Eduardo Bañados at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, California, and his colleagues searched through telescope data from three surveys that have looked at nearly the entire sky, and then confirmed possible instances of distant quasars with new observations.

Considering how few of these distant objects we think there are,

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