A water reserve the size of 140 trillion oceans lurks in a distant supermassive black hole, the universe’s greatest deposit of water and 4,000 times the quantity contained in the Milky Way.
Two teams of astronomers discovered this amount of water 12 billion light-years away, where it appears as vapor spread across hundreds of light-years.
The reservoir was discovered in the gaseous area of a quasar, which is a dazzling compact region at the center of a galaxy fueled by a black hole. This discovery shows that water may have been throughout the universe from the beginning.
While specialists are not surprised, water has never been spotted this far out. The light from the quasar took 12 billion years to reach Earth (particularly, the APM 08279+5255 quasar in the constellation Lynx), meaning that this mass of water existed when the universe was only 1.6 billion years old.
The Z-Spec equipment at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory in Hawaii was utilized by one group, while the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in the French Alps was employed by the other.
These sensors detect millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, which allows them to detect trace gases (or large reserves of water vapor) in the early universe.
The discovery of numerous spectral fingerprints of water in the quasar gave researchers with the information they needed to establish the reservoir’s massive size.