Sometimes I'm dissatisfied with this little spinning puffball we're stuck on, but then I see that there's a supermassive black hole out there with a mass of two of our suns, powering an unfathomably large quasar. Luckily, it's very, very distant.
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How distant? Far away enough that it's revealing facts about the way the universe sat immediately after the Bing Bang itself - the quasar light hitting us is a perfectly preserved image of itself 12.9 billion years ago. It's a remarkable find, because hitherto its discovery, astronomers weren't sure that quasars of that magnitude had existed in the infancy of the cosmos. "It is like finding a 6-foot-tall child in kindergarten," explains one University of Michigan astrophysicist. [Gemini Observatory via Science News]