Black holes are perhaps some of the most puzzling and outrageous cosmic objects in the Universe. Scientists have now reported they have taken one step closer to comprehend the source of the massive entity.
Supermassive black holes were formed during a period that hasn’t been understood well so far, known as the Cosmic Dawn. Thus far, it was not known how these cosmic objects ended up such monsters in size, up to one hundred thousand times more massive than our Sun. However, because of the extreme distance between our planet and the black holes, researchers can analyze the past to learn more.
Fueling Young Black Holes
Some of the first black holes are located approximately 12 billion light-years away, which means that astronomers can study them as they were 12 billion years ago. These massive cosmic objects are believed to be an early leftover of the very first stars that appeared in the darkness of the Cosmic Dawn.
Researchers, until not long ago, could not estimate how these black holes took shape because the young Universe was not believed to have sufficient provision to fuel their expanding.
Dr. Emanuele Paolo Farina of the Max Planck Institute said: “The presence of these early monsters, with masses several billion times the mass of our Sun, is a big mystery.”
Scientists from the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have now clarified a bit of the mystery by finding clouds of cool gas lurking around the ancient cosmic bodies.
Dr. Farina said that these gas halos are ‘the perfect food for supermassive black holes at the center of these galaxies.’ The gas enabled the black holes to get a nice grasp of it while they were forming.
“We are now able to demonstrate, for the first time, primordial galaxies do have enough food in their environments to sustain both the growth of supermassive black holes and vigorous star formation. This adds a fundamental piece to the puzzle that astronomers are building to picture how cosmic structures formed more than 12 billion years ago,” Dr. Farina explained.
Heaviest Black Hole Discovered
Researchers have recently found out the heaviest known black hole discovered thus far in the deep Universe. The amazing finding was made at the core of the galaxy Holm 15A, which is itself a part of a bigger group known as Abell 85.
The supermassive black hole is estimated to be 40 billion times heaviest than the Sun and expands for as long as 70 billion miles (112 billion kilometers) in space. In other words, the distance from Earth to Pluto is a bit less than four billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers), which means that the black hole could effortlessly consume the entire Solar System.
Fortunately, the gigantic object is 700 million light-years away from Earth. That means our planet is quite safe.
Dr. Jens Thomas from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics scientist said: “There are only a few dozen direct mass measurements of supermassive black holes, and never before has it been attempted at such a distance. But we already had some idea of the size of the black hole in this particular galaxy, so we tried it.”