The key to understanding the formation of supermassive black holes in the young Universe

(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers have discovered in the young Universe a “link” between ordinary galaxies and quasars. Judging by the properties, this is a future supermassive black hole that formed when the universe was only 750 million years old.

It is believed that supermassive black holes form over billions of years, merging with other holes and absorbing the surrounding matter.

But we find such huge objects in the young Universe. Astronomers have come up with different theories about how the first supermassive holes could have formed in a very short time span, by astronomical standards. Perhaps a new discovery will help to understand this issue.

“The discovered object connects two rare populations of celestial objects: dusty star-forming galaxies (DSFGs) and bright quasars.

With its help, we will be able to figure out how supermassive black holes could quickly form in the early Universe,” comments Seiji Fujimoto , a postdoctoral fellow at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

Quasars are one of the brightest sources of radio emission in the universe. Using Hubble images and other powerful telescopes, astronomers have determined that quasars are always found at the centers of galaxies.

The assumption was fixed that quasars are supermassive black holes actively absorbing the surrounding matter. As matter falls into the hole, it heats up due to friction and begins to glow brightly.

At the time of the formation of the GNz7q object , as we see it, the Universe was only 750 million years old. It lies at the center of the galaxy, where stars are born 1,600 times faster than in the Milky Way.

The galaxy and the object glow brightly in the infrared and ultraviolet ranges. Such a glow cannot be caused by a single galaxy, but partly coincides with the pattern of radiation from an active black hole.

Typically, the edges of a black hole’s accretion disk glow with ultraviolet radiation, while the center glows with X-rays.

In the galaxy with the object GNz7q , Hubble spotted an ultraviolet glow, but did not detect an X-ray. It turns out that the center of the galaxy is still hidden by heated dust, which explains the infrared glow, but the outer regions have already got rid of the dust.

the key to understanding the formation of supermassive black holes in the young Universe 2

This interpretation of the data is in complete agreement with theoretical assumptions about the formation of the first supermassive black holes.

As astrophysicist Gabriel Brammer of the Niels Bohr Institute explains , “Theorists predicted that such black holes grew very rapidly: in a dusty star-forming galaxy, a compact object appeared, red due to surrounding dust, but, having discarded dust and gas, it became clear and bright.”

Scientists have already found bright quasars in the young Universe, but it was the first time that such an object was found at the formation stage.

It is curious that the GNz7q object was found in the center of a well-studied piece of the sky, the so-called Hubble GOODS North field.

It was possible to notice it thanks to a detailed database in a wide range of waves. Now the team of scientists plans to purposefully search for objects like GNz7q , including using data that will come from the James Webb Space Telescope.


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