Adding another feather to its cap, a group of NASA scientists has recently discovered evidence of the farthest "cloaked" black hole found till the date and all thanks to the agency's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which has the ability to pierce through the obscuring cloud.
The atypical study, which is likely to be appeared in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, said this is the first indication of a black hole hidden by gas at such an early time in the history of the cosmos. The discovery comes at only about six per cent of the current age of the universe.
As per the existing theories, a dense cloud of gas feeds material into the disk surrounding a supermassive black hole during its period of early growth, cloaking or hiding much of the quasar's bright light from the view of the scinetists.
As the black hole consumes material and becomes more massive, the gas in the cloud is depleted, until the black hole and its bright disk are uncovered. Supermassive black holes, which are millions to billions of times more massive than our Sun, typically grow by pulling in material from a disk of surrounding matter.
Rapid growth generates large amounts of radiation in a very small region around the black hole. Scientists call this extremely bright, compact source a "quasar."
Talking about the latest findings, lead author Fabio Vito from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile said, "It's extraordinarily challenging to find quasars in this cloaked phase because so much of their radiation is absorbed and cannot be detected by current instruments".
"Thanks to Chandra and the ability of X-rays to pierce through the obscuring cloud, we think we've finally succeeded," Vito added. The new finding came from observations of a quasar called PSO167-13, which was first discovered by Pan-STARRS, an optical-light telescope in Hawaii.
What is black hole?
Black holes are a region of space-time exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it. In the space, black holes are one of the most complex entities.
(With inputs from agencies)