THAT certain is a flaming major hole. Astronomers have discovered a black hole with a mass 12 billion times that of the sun. It appears to have reached that size when the universe was much less than a billion years old, which creates a puzzle. Present models suggest that it could not have grown so massive so soon after the big bang.
Xue-Bing Wu of Peking University in Beijing, China, and his colleagues located the black hole by looking by way of data from sky surveys, hunting for vibrant objects called quasars.