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Cambridge, MA - Astronomers think that many - perhaps all - galaxies in the universe contain massive black holes at their centers. New observations with the Submillimeter Array now suggest that such colossal black holes were common even 12 billion years ago, when the universe was only 1.7 billion years old and galaxies were just beginning to form. The new conclusion comes from the discovery of two distant galaxies, both with black holes at their heart, which are involved in a spectacular collision.
Due to the finite speed of light, we see the two galaxies as they existed in the distant past, less than 2 billion years after the Big Bang. The new image from the Submillimeter Array captures the moment when 4C60.07 ripped a stream of material from its neighboring galaxy, as shown in the accompanying artist's conception. Source