NASA astronomers from the Fermi gamma-ray observatory discovered the farthest blazars by now. Previously, the most distant blazars detected by Fermi emitted their light when the universe was roughly 2.1 billion years old. Now, Fermi telescope picked up intense gamma-ray signals from the five blazars when the Universe was 1.4 billion years old. This discovery can help us to better understand black holes, especially in the early ages of Universe.

Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA’s Fermi. Credits: M. Weiss/CfA

Blazars belong to some of the most extreme and violent objects in the space. Simply put, blazars are at the core of giant active galaxies containing the supermassive black hole that we could ever imagine. Because they are fueled by black holes, a blazar lives on the energy of the objects like dust and stars that the supermassive black holes suck in. This makes them extremely powerful. It emits jets of high-energy plasma so fast that it’s almost at the speed of light. So, when we see a blazar, we’re looking at an actively feeding galaxy face on. Furthermore, we can see the radiation emitted by both the black hole and the jet.

The newest discovered powerfall and luminous objects emit the energy equivalent of more than 2 trillion Suns, and two of them had black holes larger than 1 billion solar masses. This fact put the question in front of scientists: how this giant supermassive black holes could form in such a young universe. And not just that, but we have to found out what triggered such a quick development of black holes.

To answer these questions, astronomers from Fermi observatory will continue to search for new blazars and study already captured data. Scientists are convinced that is detected just the tip of the iceberg. As the Fermi telescope enables scientists to answer persistent questions across a broad range of topics, including supermassive black-hole systems, pulsars and the origin of cosmic rays, their beliefs have a solid foundation.