The James Webb Space Telescope reveals that supermassive black holes were rarer in the early universe than expected

Using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), astronomers have discovered that when our 13.8-billion-year-old universe was between 4 billion and 6 billion years old, it had fewer feeding supermassive black holes than previously expected.

Such supermassive black holes, which can be millions or even billions of times as massive as the sun, grow by feeding on the matter that surrounds them in flat disks called accretion disks. The gravitational effects of these black holes also heat up that matter, thus emitting huge amounts of radiation. When a black hole participates in this extreme process, The entire area (including those radiation jets) is known as Active galactic nucleus, or AGN.

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