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Black holes form when stars die, allowing the matter in them to collapse into an extremely dense object from which not even light can escape. Astronomers theorize that massive black holes could also form at the birth of a galaxy, but so far nobody has been able to look far enough back in time to observe the conditions creating these direct collapse black holes (DCBH).
The James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2021, might be able look far enough back into the early Universe to see a galaxy hosting a nascent massive black hole. Now, a simulation done by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology has suggested what astronomers should look for if they search the skies for a DCBH in its early stages.
Simulation - September - Nature - Astronomy - Formation
The first-of-its-kind simulation, reported September 10 in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggests that direct formation of these black holes would be accompanied by specific kinds of intense radiation, including X-rays and ultraviolet emission that would shift to infrared by the time they reach the telescope. The black holes would also likely spawn massive metal-free stars, a finding that was unexpected.
The research was supported by NASA, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Science Foundation, the Southern Regional Education Board and two Hubble theory grants.
Holes - Center - Galaxies - Way - Kirk
"There are supermassive black holes at the center of many large galaxies, but we haven't been able to observe the way they form or how they got that large," said Kirk S. S. Barrow, the paper's first author and a recent Ph.D. graduate of Georgia Tech's School of Physics. "Scientists have theorized that these supermassive black holes could have formed at the birth of a galaxy, and we wanted to turn these theoretical predictions into observational predictions that could be seen by the James Webb Space Telescope."
DCBH formation would be initiated by...
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