Black holes from the dawn of the universe

May 09, 2011
A schematic showing the evolution of the universe from the big bang until today, with time running left-to-right. The "Dark Ages" is the period from the time of recombination (pictured at the left as blue-green) until after the bright band representing the first stars. New results indicate that X-ray emitting black hole binaries from the first stars help power the re-ionization of the gas that ended the Dark Ages. Credit: NASA WMAP

The "Dark Ages" of the universe started about 400,000 years after the big bang, after matter cooled down enough for neutral atoms to form.

This epoch lasted roughly a billion years, until the first stars formed under the influence of gravitational contraction, re-ionized the gas in the cosmos, and the processes of building up mature galaxies began in earnest.

At least this has been the standard picture. But it was a puzzle whether there was enough effective stellar radiation to re-ionize all of the cosmic material, especially all the gas between the first galaxies.

CfA astronomers Avi Loeb and Jonathan Pritchard, along with three colleagues, have found a solution.

Writing in the latest issues of , they describe a previously overlooked source: black hole binaries that form when the first stars explode as supernovae.

After noting models that show that the first form mostly in binary pairs, they conclude that many more X-ray binary black holes existed in those early periods of the universe.

The scientists compute the X-ray and ultraviolet flux produced by these black holes as matter accretes onto them.

This highly energetic light is much more effective than stellar ultraviolet in ionizing the neutral gas, and plays a major role in re-ionizing the universe on large scales.

The new results help to resolve an outstanding question, and refine our understanding of processes from the .

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TabulaMentis
2.3 / 5 (3) May 09, 2011
Sounds inconsistent to me. The Dark Ages started 380,000 years after the Big Bang. The Dark Ages lasted no more than 500 million years. Black Holes are formed by star explosions. Those first stars were probably POP III Stars created around 200 million years after the Big Bang. I am guessing POP III Stars may have formed from Dark Stars that began to form around 100 million years after the Big Bang. I am still not sure if Dark Energy Stars played any part in the early universe.
MorganW
5 / 5 (2) May 09, 2011
Do black holes necessarily form from massive stars? Given enough mass and gravity, couldn't a black hole form directly?
TabulaMentis
3 / 5 (4) May 09, 2011
Do black holes necessarily form from massive stars? Given enough mass and gravity, couldn't a black hole form directly?
I would like to know the answer to that also. Anyone out there know the answer.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) May 09, 2011
Do black holes necessarily form from massive stars? Given enough mass and gravity, couldn't a black hole form directly?
I would like to know the answer to that also. Anyone out there know the answer?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) May 09, 2011
Do black holes necessarily form from massive stars? Given enough mass and gravity, couldn't a black hole form directly?
How about Black Holes being created by the explosions of Dark Energy Stars as an alternative?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) May 09, 2011
Do black holes necessarily form from massive stars? Given enough mass and gravity, couldn't a black hole form directly?
Gravastars may be another way of creating Black Holes, though I have found nothing about the subject.
Husky
5 / 5 (1) May 09, 2011
the giant matter cloud would have to be pretty dense to begin with and collapse dast before a protostar is ignited within that gives a stellar wind/jets counter pressure
antialias
4.5 / 5 (2) May 09, 2011
Ignition of a star would come before a black hole would form.
The star's light tends to push surrounding dust away. But if the environment has enough mass (as it probably did this soon after the big bang) then infalling mass can overcome this type of photon pressure. If enough matter falls onto the star then I would hazard that it can become a black hole before its natural life cycle would lead to a supernova and the 'natural' formation of a black hole at its center.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.6 / 5 (7) May 09, 2011
The new results help to resolve an outstanding question, and refine our understanding of processes from the early universe.


This doesn't "resolve" anything.

This entire theory, and this article, is really nothing more than conjecture.

It's a shame people actually get paid to make this crap up, instead of working on real world issues.
yyz
5 / 5 (5) May 09, 2011
@antalias, Husky, TM,

The idea that early massive BHs could be formed directly from the gravitational collapse of primordial gas (sidestepping formation of a Pop III star) has been around for some time:

http://arxiv.org/...49v2.pdf

(and refs therein)

As mentioned in the paper, black holes formed in this way would have masses in the 10E4-10E5 M_Sun, which dovetails nicely with current observations of massive BHs forming early in the universe(an early leg up, if you will, in forming SMBHs found in the nuclei of many early galaxies).

The paper also mentions several possible observational tests of this hypothesis(including observations w-JWST). Also prominently mentioned is the high Xray luminosities generated by the (possibly short-lived) accretion disks of these massive BHs and their role in reionization of the early universe.

The paper by Mirabel et al (discussing early BH-HMXRBs) here: http://arxiv.org/...91v1.pdf
omatumr
1 / 5 (8) May 09, 2011
Nuclear evolution in the cosmos is currently transferring material from the compact, nuclear form of matter to the expanded atomic form of matter:

Nuclear form => Atomic form

Neutrons => Hydrogen atoms

Neutron repulsion drives the process and the expansion of the universe.

When the compact neutron-rich objects have evaporated, the process will probably reverse in the contraction stage of our infinite and cyclic universe.

See: "Is the Universe Expanding?"
The Journal of Cosmology 13, 4187-4190 (2011)

http://journalofc...102.html

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
RobertKarlStonjek
2 / 5 (4) May 10, 2011
Galaxies have been discovered at less than a billion years after the BB, so the above dates of 400k for the dark ages and 1.4 billion for the beginning of the re-ionization era are totally wrong.

"This galaxy would be more distant than the population of redshift 8 galaxies recently discovered in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, including the current most distant spectroscopically confirmed record holder at a redshift of 8.6 (eso1041), and the redshift 8.2 gamma-ray burst from 2009 (eso0917). A redshift of z = 8.6 means that the object is seen as it was around 600 million years after the Big Bang."
http://www.physor...nce.html

It just goes to show how wildly wrong the BB theory is turning out to be ~ at the very least it is time to ditch the Lambda CDM and make up another 'just so' story...
vidar_lund
5 / 5 (3) May 10, 2011
Neutron repulsion drives the process and the expansion of the universe.


Oliver, I read your link. You make some pretty wild assumptions with no further explanation or evidence. I wonder what kind of mechanism within the 'neutron repulsion' theory that is capable of expanding space itself. This stuff is far out man, that's all I can say.
ubavontuba
3 / 5 (2) May 10, 2011
This epoch lasted roughly a billion years, until the first stars formed...
Uh, problem. Apparently stars began forming long before this.

Here's an article on a galaxy that apparently existed 480 million years after the Big Bang!

http://www.space....ope.html

So, it looks like this article has it all wrong.

yyz
5 / 5 (2) May 10, 2011
@uba

"This epoch lasted roughly a billion years, until the first stars formed...

Uh, problem. Apparently stars began forming long before this."

This is a rather poorly written article, so your confusion is understandable. Until recently Pop III stars were thought to be a primary source of ionizing radiation during this epoch (and these stars were forming a between 150 Myr to 1Gyr after the BB).

But recent observations, like those of UDFj-39546284, suggest that UV from Pop III stars in early galaxies could not alone account for the degree of reionization observed. From your source:

"The new results hint that early galaxies such as UDFj-39546284 may have played a role in this reionization of the universe. But their contributions alone were perhaps not great enough to do the job, suggesting that some mystery source is also partly responsible"

Mirabel et al are simply suggesting that accreting BHs in high-mass X-ray binaries could be that "mystery source".



omatumr
1 / 5 (6) May 10, 2011
I wonder what kind of mechanism within the 'neutron repulsion' theory that is capable of expanding space itself.


Neutron decay causes the volume to expand by a factor of 10^15, 1,000,000,000,000,000.

Neutron => Hydrogen atom

V(H)/V(n) ~ 1,000,000,000,000,000

When the H atom is transferred to interstellar space, the volume increases by another factor of ~10^8, or ~100,000,000.

The net expansion, when a neutron in the core of a star or galaxy becomes an interstellar H atom, V(final)/V(initial) = 10^15 x 10^8 = 10^23 or 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Measurements on material in the solar system suggest that the above process - driven by dynamic competition between the attractive force of gravity and the repulsive force between neutrons [1] - sustains our lives, the stormy Sun, and the cosmos during the current expansion stage of our infinite, cyclic universe [2].

1. "Neutron Repulsion", The APEIRON Journal, in press, 19 pages (2011)

http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1
omatumr
1 / 5 (7) May 10, 2011
2. "Is the Universe Expanding?", The Journal of Cosmology 13, 4187-4190 (2011)

http://journalofc...102.html

Thanks, Vidar, for your question.

Are you aware of a Yahoo discussion group on neutron repulsion?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

PS - With apologies for the fragmented reply.
MorganW
5 / 5 (5) May 10, 2011
What does neutron expansion have to do with Black Holes? I'm just a lay person, but this seems to be pretty speculative and quite a segue from the article...
yyz
5 / 5 (1) May 10, 2011
Mention should also be made that the very early universe was quite smaller in volume, so many more mergers of BHs and galaxies probably contributed (however briefly) to a large upsurge in all forms of light (especially UV) in the early univere.

__________________________________

On another topic, one should take note of the distance to the newly discovered galaxy UDFj-39546284 mentioned above by some posters. The quoted redshift of z~10 is a lower-quality *photometric* estimate. A followup *spectroscopically* derived RS is sorely needed to pinpoint the actual RS (this may have to await the JWST for this measurement): http://en.wikiped...39546284

For now, the record holder for the most distant galaxy (with a spectroscopically derived RS of z=8.55) is UDFy-38135539: http://en.wikiped...38135539

yyz
5 / 5 (1) May 10, 2011
"The star's light tends to push surrounding dust away. But if the environment has enough mass (as it probably did this soon after the big bang) then infalling mass can overcome this type of photon pressure. If enough matter falls onto the star then I would hazard that it can become a black hole before its natural life cycle would lead to a supernova and the 'natural' formation of a black hole at its center."

Indeed hydrostatic shocks will quickly arise from infalling matter onto the accretion disk and the increasing radiation pressure from the superhot accretion disk, as mentioned in the Mirabel paper: http://arxiv.org/...91v1.pdf

The authors also posit that the existence of BH-HMXBs could account for the dearth of dwarf galaxies predicted by several simulations of galaxies (including our MWG) and their evolution in our universe (Sec 8).
71STARS
1 / 5 (1) May 10, 2011
"Dark Energy Stars"?? Come on! Who made that up?

"Black Holes from the Dawn of the Universe"?? Who conjured up that supposition?

This article isn't worth arguing about because the premise is totally off the mark. P.S. Do you really believe in the Big Bang still? Where is the theory to end this ridiculous explosion. Only one out there so far.

But the postings are really interesting and backed up by articles offered. Thanks for the effort.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) May 10, 2011
"Dark Energy Stars"?? Come on! Who made that up?
See the following link: http://en.wikiped...rgy_star
omatumr
1 / 5 (5) May 10, 2011
What does neutron expansion have to do with Black Holes?


Neutron repulsion prevents the collapse of massive neutron stars.
ubavontuba
4 / 5 (4) May 11, 2011
@yyz:

From your source:

"The new results hint that early galaxies such as UDFj-39546284 may have played a role in this reionization of the universe. But their contributions alone were perhaps not great enough to do the job, suggesting that some mystery source is also partly responsible"
Also from my source:

"The results from this study imply that the stars and galaxies that they can detect would only provide about 12 percent of the radiation that you would need,"

So, how confident are we that we haven't missed 88% (or more) of the early galaxies, needed to account for all of the reionization?

yyz
5 / 5 (3) May 11, 2011
@uba

"So, how confident are we that we haven't missed 88% (or more) of the early galaxies, needed to account for all of the reionization?"

From your source:

"The team's observations in this regard are not definitive. To get to the bottom of the reionization mystery, astronomers will need to gather more data, according to Bouwens.

"At redshift 10, we made a relatively conservative assumption about how many of these faint galaxies there were," Bouwens said. "If there actually turn out to be more, they could be more important."

Remember, that 12 percent quoted is only an estimate, based on several assumptions used in their model. BH-HMXBs may be another important contributor of UV light in the early universe. Evaporating primordial BHs may be another source of ionizing radiation. Short lived solitary massive Pop III stars and the IMBHs (w-their accretion disks) they would become could also contribute.

The question comes down to what were the predominant sources of this radiation.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) May 11, 2011
The question comes down to what were the predominant sources of this radiation.
I wonder if there's an error of concept.

To suggest that the early universe had a sharply limited number of galaxies seems rather ridiculous, as all of matter was contained in the early universe. And, it seems intuitively that all matter must have evolved at similar rates. It's just that some matter in the early universe was far enough away from ours that with expansion, it now appears particularly distant/redshifted.

As we can't possibly see all the matter by looking back into time (as much of it has traveled with us), suggesting the early universe was sharply limited based on current observations, seems to ignore our in situ perspective.

Therefore, couldn't all the "missing" early galaxies simply be represented by mass who's earliest light has long since passed us by (i.e. closer/less redshifted matter)?

TabulaMentis
not rated yet May 12, 2011
@XYV and Ubavontuba:
Once we develop a way of seeing Dark Energy and Dark Matter, then maybe most of those questions will probably be answered, correct?
Mahal_Kita
1 / 5 (1) May 15, 2011
When approaching the Big Bang in spacetime you have to know 1. what space is, 2. what gravity is, and 3. what their exact relation is with time. Since we still don't know the answer to those questions, any theory goes as long as it confirms General Relativity.
Mahal_Kita
1 / 5 (1) May 15, 2011
In my "Mobius Universe" theory I propose that time exists in at least one more dimension of spacetime with an opposite, or negative vector.