The newly-discovered black hole is part of a quasar, meaning it sits at the center of a cloud of gas that it's slowly swallowing.
The black hole is pinpointed to a location of when the universe was 690-million-years-old, or roughly five percent of its current age, according to the calculations.
Astronomers who found the farthest supermassive black hole say it grew super quickly when the universe was just a newborn, making it a rare and mysterious space object.
"This is the only object we have observed from this era", researcher Robert Simcoe said in a statement from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The new black hole's mass, calculated after more observations, adds to an existing problem. And how did those behemoth black holes grow so big in so little time?
A supermassive black hole from the dawn of the universe, just 690 million years after the Big Bang, has been discovered by scientists.
"What transitions the universe from being neutral to ionized is starlight from the first galaxies", he said. "This is the most accurate measurement of that time, and a real indication of when the first stars turned on". These findings are published today in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.
The Carnegie Institution for Science is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research.
The mass of this black hole is some 800 million times that of our sun, in contrast to the 4-million-mass black hole thought to lie at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. FIRE is a spectrometer that classifies objects based on their infrared spectra. It took more than 13 billion years for the light from the quasar to reach us.
Additionally, the size of the black hole is a puzzle in itself: Its mass is 800 million times greater than our sun's.
Even in the most generous and optimistic estimate of the formation of black holes, creating such a massive one in such a relatively short period of time would be impossible.
The newly identified quasar appears to inhabit a pivotal moment in the universe's history. About 400,000 years after the initial explosion, the primordial soup of high energy particles cooled down to become a neutral hydrogen gas. When you think of a black hole, you're likely thinking of a stellar black hole, which forms when a star explodes in a spectacular supernova, and the remaining core collapses under the weight of its own gravity. As more stars turned on throughout the universe, their photons reacted with neutral hydrogen, ionizing the gas and setting off what's known as the epoch of re-ionization. This means that much of the quasar's matter could be from a time we don't know much about, during which the universe was dark. For one, they can be used to "X-ray" the universe over large distances.
Astronomers started by studying the quasar's emission spectrum, from which they could figure out how fast the system is moving away from us.
There is one large mystery that remains to be solved: How did a black hole of such massive proportions form so early in the universe's history? "Something only started to happen when the first star formed and you got radiation that started to ionize everything".