Scientists have discovered the most distant black hole ever seen with X-rays so far, formed just 470 million years after the Big Bang.
NASA points out that the black hole is in a growth phase never before observed.
Its mass, the space agency adds, is similar to that of its host galaxy, so its discovery “could explain how the first supermassive black holes in the universe formed,” NASA said in a statement.
Webb’s data show that the black hole’s host galaxy is 13.2 billion light years from Earth, when the universe was only 3% of its current age, NASA notes.
The black hole is in an early stage of growth that has never been witnessed before, where its mass is similar to that of its host galaxy.
Researchers plan to use this and other results from the James Webb and other telescopes to complete a larger picture of the early universe.
“It’s very early in the universe for there to be such a giant,” said Priyamvada Natarajan of Yale University, who participated in the study published in Nature Astronomy.