Astronomers have identified a fast-growing black hole believed to be a “missing link” in our knowledge of the early universe.
Using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, experts have discovered the “monster” body that formed just 750 million years after the Big Bang,
NASA said in a statement on April 13: “Astronomers have identified a rapidly growing black hole in the early universe that is believed to be a crucial ‘missing link’ between young star-forming galaxies and early supermassive black holes. . They used data from NASA’s Hubble. space telescope to make this discovery.
“Until now, the monster, dubbed GNz7q, has been hiding unnoticed in one of the best-studied areas of the night sky, the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey-North (GOODS-North) field.
“Hubble Archive data from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys helped the team determine that GNz7q existed just 750 million years after the big bang.
“The team has obtained evidence that GNz7q is a newly formed black hole. Hubble has found a compact source of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared light.
“This could not be caused by the emission from galaxies, but corresponds to the radiation expected from material falling on a black hole.”
According to NASA, “Fast-growing black holes in the earliest dusty star-forming galaxies are predicted by theories and computer simulations, but had not been observed until now.”
Seiji Fujimoto, an astronomer at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, explained: “Our analysis suggests that GNz7q is the first example of a rapidly growing black hole in the dusty core of a star galaxy at a epoch close to the first known supermassive black hole in the universe.
“The properties of the object across the electromagnetic spectrum are in excellent agreement with predictions from theoretical simulations.”
NASA said: “Current theories predict that supermassive black holes begin life in the dust-shrouded nuclei of vigorously star-forming ‘starburst’ galaxies before expelling surrounding gas and dust and emerging as extremely luminous quasars.
“Although extremely rare, these dusty galaxies and bright quasars have been detected in the early universe.
“The team thinks that GNz7q could be a missing link between these two classes of objects. GNz7q has exactly the two aspects of the dusty star galaxy and the quasar, where the light from the quasar shows the color reddened by the dust.
“Furthermore, GNz7q lacks various features that are usually seen in typical very bright quasars (corresponding to emission from the accretion disk of the supermassive black hole), which is most likely explained by the fact that the black hole central GN7q is still young and less massive phase.
“These properties are a perfect match for the young transition phase quasar that has been predicted in simulations, but never identified in such a high redshift universe as the very bright quasars identified so far up to a redshift. red 7.6.
“While other interpretations of the team’s data cannot be completely ruled out, the observed properties of GNz7q are consistent with theoretical predictions. wavelengths but very weak at x-ray wavelengths.
“Typically, the accretion disk of a massive black hole should be very bright in both UV and X-rays. But this time, although the team detected UV light with Hubble, the X-ray light X was invisible even with one of the deepest X-ray datasets.
“These results suggest that the core of the accretion disk, where the X-rays come from, is still obscured, while the outer part of the accretion disk, where the UV light comes from, becomes brighter. This interpretation is that GNz7q is a fast-growing black hole still obscured by the dusty core of its star-forming host galaxy.
Astronomer and team member Gabriel Brammer added: “GNz7q is a unique discovery that has been found right in the center of a famous and well-studied celestial field – it shows that great discoveries can often be hidden right in front of you. .
“It is unlikely that the finding of GNz7q in the relatively small GOODS-North survey area was simply ‘dumb luck’, but rather that the prevalence of these sources may in fact be significantly higher than believed. previously thought.”
The NASA statement continued: “Finding GNz7q hidden in plain sight was only possible because of the unique and detailed multi-wavelength datasets available to GOODS-North. Without this wealth of data, GNz7q would have been easy to ignore, since it lacks the distinguishing characteristics generally used to identify quasars in the early universe.
“The team now hopes to systematically search for similar objects using dedicated high-resolution surveys and leverage spectroscopic instruments from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study objects such as GNz7q in unprecedented detail.”
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.