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Hubble Discovers Clues To Birth Of Supermassive Black Holes

First Posted: May 25, 2016 06:00 AM EDT

A team of Italian astrophysicists have recently found evidence that offers the best to‐date explanation about the origin of supermassive black holes. The researchers used data from Hubble and two other space telescopes to study how the cosmic giants developed.

According to a report, there has been a long debate about the earliest development of supermassive black holes, and their consequent quick formation after the Big Bang. Now, the researching astrophysicists have pointed out to two objects present in the early Universe that seemed to have caused the birth of supermassive black holes. Moreover, the two objects have been found to be the most likely candidates that seeded the phenomena.

The group from Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (SNS) in Italy used computer models and applied a new analysis system to data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, NASA Spitzer Space Telescope and NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory to detect and identify the two objects. The two likely black hole seed candidates were seen in a period of less than a billion years following the Big Bang, with an initial mass 100000 times greater than the Sun, and could explain the formation of the cosmic giants.  "Our discovery, if confirmed, would explain how these monster black holes were born," said Fabio Pacucci from SNS.

At present, scientists believe that there are two main theories that explain the creation of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. According to one assumption, the seeds develop out of black holes with a mass that is 10 to 100 times greater than the Sun, due to the collapse of a massive star. Subsequently, mergers with other black hole seeds and gas pull from the surrounding environment, makes the original black hole seeds larger. However, the black hole seeds have to grow at unusually high rates to attain the mass of the supermassive black holes detected in a one billion year old Universe.  

The new discovery by the scientists supports another assumption, according to which at least some very massive black hole seeds with a mass 100000 times that of the Sun were created directly following a massive cloud of gas collapse.  The theory indicates that the growth of black holes would get a kick start and then would continue more quickly. The team plans to continue follow up studies in X-rays and in the infrared range to determine whether the two objects have more black hole seed properties.

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