Three Maunakea Observatories, the Gemini, W.M. Keck, and UKIRT observatories have announced the discovery of the most distant known quasar. The quasar, observed just 670 million years after the Big Bang, is 1,000 times brighter than the Milky Way Galaxy. It is powered by the earliest known supermassive black hole, which weighs in at more than 1.6 billion times the mass of the Sun. Seen more than 13 billion years ago, this fully formed distant quasar is the earliest yet discovered, providing astronomers with insight into the formation of massive galaxies in the early Universe.
The international Gemini Observatory is a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab.