By comparing infrared and X-ray background signals across the same stretch of sky, an international team of astronomers has discovered evidence of a significant number of black holes that accompanied the first stars in the universe.
Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which observes in the infrared, researchers have concluded one of every five sources contributing to the infrared signal is a black hole.
“Our results indicate black holes are responsible for at least 20 percent of the cosmic infrared background, which indicates intense activity from black holes feeding on gas during the epoch of the first stars,” said Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The cosmic infrared background (CIB) is the collective light from an epoch when structure first emerged in the universe. Astronomers think it arose from clusters of massive suns in the universe’s first…
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