NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has evidence, that says astronomers have discovered a jet from a very distant supermassive black hole being illuminated by the oldest light in the universe.
The discovery found that after the Big Bang, the black holes having powerful jets may be more common than previously thought in the first few billion years.
After 2.7 billion years, the light detected from this jet was emitted. That was a fifth of its present age.
At this point, the intensity of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) left over from the Big Bang was much greater than it is today.
Co-author Lukasz Stawarz of Jagiellonian University in Poland explained
“We essentially stumbled onto this remarkable jet because it happened to be in Chandra’s field of view while we were observing something else,”
The length of the jet, found in the system known as B3 0727+409, is at least 300,000 light years.
Many big jets which emittes supermassive black holes has been detected in the nearby universe, but how these jets give off X-rays has remained a matter of debate.
In B3 0727+409, it appears that the CMB is being boosted to X-ray wavelengths.
Aurora Simionescu at JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Studies (ISAS) who led the study, said.
“Because we are seeing this jet when the universe was less than three billion years old, the jet is about 150 times brighter in X-rays than it would be in the nearby Universe,”
Electrons in black hole jets usually emit strongly at radio wavelengths, so typically these systems are found using radio observations.
The discovery of the jet in B3 0727+409 is special because so far almost no radio signal has been detected from this object while it is easily seen in the X-ray image.
“Supermassive black hole activity, including the launching of jets, may be different in the early Universe than what we see later on,” noted study co-author Teddy Cheung of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
By researching more, about these jets, scientists can start to grasp how the properties of supermassive black holes might change over billions of years.
The results were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.(IANS)