Title
A luminous quasar at a redshift of z = 7.085 A luminous quasar at a redshift of z = 7.085
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Physics
Source (journal)
Nature. - London
Volume/pages
474(2011) :7353 , p. 616-619
ISSN
0028-0836
ISI
000292204300033
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The intergalactic medium was not completely reionized until approximately a billion years after the Big Bang, as revealed1 by observations of quasars with redshifts of less than 6.5. It has been difficult to probe to higher redshifts, however, because quasars have historically been identified2, 3, 4 in optical surveys, which are insensitive to sources at redshifts exceeding 6.5. Here we report observations of a quasar (ULAS J112001.48+064124.3) at a redshift of 7.085, which is 0.77 billion years after the Big Bang. ULAS J1120+0641 has a luminosity of 6.3 × 1013L⊙ and hosts a black hole with a mass of 2 × 109M⊙ (where L⊙ and M⊙ are the luminosity and mass of the Sun). The measured radius of the ionized near zone around ULAS J1120+0641 is 1.9 megaparsecs, a factor of three smaller than is typical for quasars at redshifts between 6.0 and 6.4. The near-zone transmission profile is consistent with a Lyα damping wing5, suggesting that the neutral fraction of the intergalactic medium in front of ULAS J1120+0641 exceeded 0.1.
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