A cloaked black hole, one of the rarest sightings, was found lurking behind a cloud of gas, and it dates to the early years of the universe.
In a recent discovery made using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers found the farthest cloaked black hole to date.
Before they turn into supermassive black holes, these monstrous cosmic beings feed off material from a disk of surrounding matter, the process of which creates an extremely bright, compact source of light known as a .
During a black hole's early growth period, a dense cloud of gas blocks the quasar's light until the black hole finishes consuming the gas.
"It's extraordinarily challenging to find quasars in this cloaked phase, because so much of their radiation is absorbed and cannot be detected by current instruments," Fabio Vito, an astrophysicist at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile, and lead author of a study describing the research, said in the statement .
The team of astronomers was originally observing 10 quasars found in the early universe when the researchers discovered that one of them, PSO167-13, was highly obscured by gas.
This discovery could help scientists better understand the growth phase of supermassive black holes and how they grow to a billion times the in a short time, according to the statement.