The space telescope of NASA designed to spot gamma rays, Fermi, has identified the farthest and most powerful blazars bursting with gamma rays. Blazars represent a type of galaxy in which huge black holes fuel intense emissions of gamma rays. Roopesh Ojha, an astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, claimed that despite their early days, these blazars host the biggest black holes ever discovered.
- Astronomers used Fermi, the gamma-ray space telescope to detect blazars.
- These blazars represent a type of galaxy in which massive black holes are powered by gamma rays.
- The most distant blazars identified were emitted when the universe was 2.1 billion years old.
The light from this distant object started traveling to us when the universe was 1.4 billion years old, meaning 10% of the age it is now. The most distant blazars which were identified by Fermi telescope had emitted their light when the universe was approximately 2.1 billion years old. Ojha noted that these blazars developed early in the history of space, challenging present theories about the formation and growth of supermassive black holes.
Scientists were intrigued by these findings, trying to unveil more data about these astronomical objects to be able to understand the process even better. The discovery was presented on January 30 at the American Physical Society meeting in Washington. Half of this gamma–ray sources revealed by Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) are constituted by blazars.
Astronomers believe that the excessive emissions of blazars are fueled by burning and tearing apart material as it falls toward a supermassive black hole with a mass a million times bigger than that of the sun. Dario Gasparini, a researcher from the Italian Space Agency’s Science Data Centre in Rome, stated that astronomers wonder how the formation of these massive black holes in the very early times of the universe was possible.
Scientists are bound to work on revealing which are the mechanisms that trigger their agile development. Two of the blazars which were spotted by the team of experts comprise some black holes with a mass which is a billion times bigger than that of the sun. Meanwhile, the team of astronomers plans to look even deeper in space to analyze them and search for other examples.
Marco Ajello, scientists from Clemson University in South Carolina, US, claims that their gamma-ray space telescope Fermi only identified the tip of the iceberg, while more spectacular cosmic objects are to be unveiled if they keep searching.
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