At 12 billion times the Sun's mass, and in a quasar that was a million billion times as energetic as the Sun, it's not actually the largest black hole ever spotted. However, its redshift indicates that it's a black hole from very early in the universe.
That's the problematic part, according to Dr Fuyan Bian from the ANU's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, who in a press release said: "Forming such a large black hole so quickly is hard to interpret with current theories".
At a redshift of greater than 6.30, the quasar, designated SDSSJ010013.021280225.8 (SDSS J0100+2802 in short) is one of only around 40 with that redshift, indicating that they formed in a much younger universe. This particular quasar formed when the universe was less than a billion years old, the researchers say.
Its huge size and age means it must have "gained enormous mass in a short period of time", Dr Bian said. However, as we currently understand black hole formation, this quasar shouldn't have had enough time to get so big.'