A Huge Black Hole Spotted While It Was Flashing a Light

About 13 billion years ago, when our universe was still just a scrappy startup, the cosmos hit a creative streak and churned out massive black holes left, right and center.

Astronomers can nonetheless sneak a peek at these relics of the early universe once they have a look at quasars, incredibly giant, outstandingly bright objects considered powered by old black holes billions of times more massive than Earth’s sun. Nevertheless, the very existence of those ancient objects poses a problem. Many quasars seem to originate from the first 800 million years of the universe, long before any stars may grow huge or old enough to collapse under their own mass, explode in a supernova and form a black hole.

So, where are these old holes within the fabric of space-time coming from? According to one popular concept, maybe all it takes is a whole lot of gas.

In new research, printed June 28 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, researchers ran a computer model to indicate that certain supermassive black holes in the very early universe might have shaped by merely accumulating a tremendous amount of gas into one gravitationally individual cloud. The researchers discovered that, in a few hundred million years, a sufficiently giant such cloud might collapse under its mass and create a small black hole- no supernova required.

Throughout the multiyear survey that culminated in that 2017 research, six different nearby stars exploded in fire, suggesting that roughly 1 in 7 (14%) giant stars meet their ends by merely vanishing into the void.

Emily Rodriguez

Emily Rodriguez

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