A team of European astronomers have discovered the most distant quasar ever seen to man. Named ULAS J1120+0641, this brilliant beacon is powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the sun. The quasar is by far the brightest object yet discovered in the early universe.
Results of the discovery appear in the June 30, 2011 issue of Nature.
Due to its extreme brightness, the quasar is of particular interest because for the first time we can understand what conditions were like in the early universe.
The discovery was made with the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii as part of an infrared sky survey and was confirmed by observations made with a number of other telescopes, including the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.
See the full article from EarthSky here.