The James Webb Telescope sees two monstrous black holes merge at the dawn of time, challenging our understanding of the universe

This image shows the environment of the galaxy system ZS7 as seen by the James Webb Space Telescope. A zoomed-in look at the merging black hole system is inset in yellow.

Astronomers have taken advantage of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to detect the furthest pair of colliding black holes in the known universe. The cosmic monsters – each estimated to be around 50 million suns in size – were discovered more than 13 billion light-years away, at a time just 740 million years after the Big Bang.

Although not the largest or oldest black holes ever discoveredAccording to the authors of the European Space Agency (ESA) study, the merging pair still managed to grow mind-bogglingly large so early in the universe’s history. rack. This discovery further challenges leading theories cosmologythat fail to explain how objects could grow so big and so fast in the universe’s infancy.

“Our findings suggest that mergers are an important route through which black holes can grow rapidly, even at cosmic dawn,” said the study’s lead author. Hannah Übler, a researcher at the University of Cambridge said in the statement. ‘Together with other Webb findings of active, massive black holes in the distant universe, our results also show that massive black holes have determined the evolution of galaxies from the very beginning.’

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