Bblack holes were surprisingly common in early universe: study

Jun 15, 2011
This composite image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) combines the deepest X-ray, optical and infrared views of the sky. Using these images, astronomers have obtained the first direct evidence that black holes are common in the early Universe and shown that very young black holes grew more aggressively than previously thought. (X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Hawaii/ E.Treister et al; Infrared: NASA/STScI/UC Santa Cruz/G.Illingworth et al; Optical: NASA/STScI/S.Beckwith et al)

(PhysOrg.com) -- Using the deepest X-ray image ever taken, astronomers found the first direct evidence that massive black holes were common in the early universe. This discovery from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that very young black holes grew more aggressively than previously thought, in tandem with the growth of their host galaxies.

By pointing Chandra at a patch of sky for more than six weeks, astronomers obtained what is known as the Chandra Deep Field South (CDFS). When combined with very deep optical and infrared images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the new Chandra data allowed astronomers to search for black holes in 200 distant galaxies, from when the universe was between about 800 million to 950 million years old.

"Until now, we had no idea what the black holes in these early galaxies were doing, or if they even existed,” said Ezequiel Treister of the University of Hawaii, lead author of the study appearing in the June 16 issue of the journal Nature. “Now we know they are there, and they are growing like gangbusters."

The super-sized growth means that the black holes in the CDFS are less extreme versions of quasars -- very luminous, rare objects powered by material falling onto supermassive black holes. However, the sources in the CDFS are about a hundred times fainter and the black holes are about a thousand times less massive than the ones in quasars.

This is an artist's impression of a growing supermassive black hole located in the early Universe, showing a disk of gas rotating around the central object that generates copious amounts of radiation. This gas is destined to be consumed by the black hole. The black hole's mass is less than one hundredth of the mass it will have when the Universe reaches its present day age of about 13.7 billion years. Image credit: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart

The observations found that between 30 and 100 percent of the distant galaxies contain growing supermassive black holes. Extrapolating these results from the small observed field to the full sky, there are at least 30 million supermassive black holes in the early universe. This is a factor of 10,000 larger than the estimated number of quasars in the early universe.

“It appears we've found a whole new population of baby black holes,” said co-author Kevin Schawinski of Yale University. “We think these babies will grow by a factor of about a hundred or a thousand, eventually becoming like the giant black holes we see today almost 13 billion years later.”

A population of young black holes in the early universe had been predicted, but not yet observed. Detailed calculations show that the total amount of black hole growth observed by this team is about a hundred times higher than recent estimates.

Because these black holes are nearly all enshrouded in thick clouds of gas and dust, optical telescopes frequently cannot detect them. However, the high energies of X-ray light can penetrate these veils, allowing the black holes inside to be studied.

Physicists studying black holes want to know more how the first supermassive black holes were formed and how they grow. Although evidence for parallel growth of black holes and galaxies has been established at closer distances, the new Chandra results show that this connection starts earlier than previously thought, perhaps right from the origin of both.

“Most astronomers think in the present-day universe, black holes and galaxies are somehow symbiotic in how they grow,” said Priya Natarajan, a co-author from Yale University. “We have shown that this codependent relationship has existed from very early times.”

Watch an animation of a hidden black hole:

Watch a video of Chandra Deep Field South:

It has been suggested that early black holes would play an important role in clearing away the cosmic "fog" of neutral, or uncharged, hydrogen that pervaded the early universe when temperatures cooled down after the Big Bang. However, the Chandra study shows that blankets of dust and gas stop ultraviolet radiation generated by the black holes from traveling outwards to perform this “reionization.” Therefore, stars and not growing black holes are likely to have cleared this fog at cosmic dawn.

Chandra is capable of detecting extremely faint objects at vast distances, but these black holes are so obscured that relatively few photons can escape and hence they could not be individually detected. Instead, the team used a technique that relied on Chandra’s ability to accurately determine the direction from which the X-rays came to add up all the X-ray counts near the positions of distant galaxies and find a statistically significant signal.

Explore further: Eclipsing binary stars discovered by high school students

More information: Nature paper: DOI:10.1038/nature10103

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User comments : 13

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Isaacsname
5 / 5 (4) Jun 15, 2011
Are they left over from the Bbig Bbang ?
Tuxford
1 / 5 (4) Jun 15, 2011
And if 'black' holes actually nucleate and eject new matter to grow galaxies from within as has been proposed, then this observation only supports this idea. Last year I commented that I look forward to studies linking the size of the central black hole to the galaxy size and age. The active phase of this process may have been recently witnessed from it's onset, and almost three months later, is still quite active.

http://www.physor...ion.html

http://www.swift....0450158/
orgon
Jun 15, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (7) Jun 15, 2011
in flatch theory the large galaxies are product of matter evaporation from black flatch, not black-holes. Such evaporating flatch(white flatch) are quite common in distant parts of Universe and they're called a flatch spoog.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 15, 2011
"And if 'black' holes actually nucleate and eject new matter to grow galaxies from within' - tuxford

No reputable person in the scientific community has proposed this.

Did you hear it on Coast to Coast last week before the bit on Bigfoot?
Isaacsname
3.5 / 5 (2) Jun 15, 2011
What is the relation, if any, between black holes and the expansion of the universe ? Does one contribute to the other possibly, or is that just flat-out absurd ?
Gilbert
3.5 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2011
Isn't it common sense? (if going by big bang theory) if mass was closer together ( more denser er ) then there would be more "black holes"....

and if you don't get that, then you really should read up on what a black hole is.. :/
orgon
Jun 16, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
orgon
1.8 / 5 (4) Jun 16, 2011
if mass was closer together then there would be more "black holes"
The article talks about relative abundance of black holes. IMO it's the consequence of the fact, we are observing most distant galaxies in infrared radiation only, which makes the star companion and interstellar gas more transparent, so that the central black holes are more visible. In general, the farther galaxy is, their black hole centers are becoming more apparent relatively. It's similar to observation of remote clouds through haze: the farther such cloud will be, the less their sparse surface areas will be apparent. At the sufficient distance only centers of clouds will remain observable through the haze. The Aether model just says, this effect is not a feature of Universe age, but the distance. The Milky Way would probably appear in the same way, if we would observe it from sufficient distance.
Gilbert
1 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2011
yes the article talks about the relative abundance of black holes, however it states that they got this data from only looking at galaxies,

"Because these black holes are nearly all enshrouded in thick clouds of gas and dust, optical telescopes frequently cannot detect them. However, the high energies of X-ray light can penetrate these veils, allowing the black holes inside to be studied."

it is the black holes that are hard to see, not the galaxies that surround them
Mahal_Kita
not rated yet Jun 16, 2011
Of course this is not a surprise at all. In our space-time continuum it is like this; when you collect enough mass it will ignite and form a star. The outward pressure of the ignited matter will keep the star from imploding into itself because of it's total mass/gravity. When the star begins to ignite heavier elements it explodes. After this explosion the mass of the star determines whether it implodes into itself or not. When it implodes it, again depending on the total mass/gravity, it forms a sigularity or black hole. After that it feeds on mass and grows for all time. Now, in the past and in the future. Is it so surprising that the oldest black holes are the most massive?
Mahal_Kita
not rated yet Jun 16, 2011
IMO a singularity has a massive magnetic field which I can't describe because of the interaction with gravity at the event horizon. The interaction between the singularities gravity and it's magnetic field is IMO responsible for the 'jests' at either side of the singularity. Mass is speeded up by gravity and will follow the magnetic lines towards the poles. Then some process makes some of the inbound mass to be accelerated outward. So no mass is coming from inside the singularity but some of the inbound mass is ejected again..
Mahal_Kita
not rated yet Jun 16, 2011
IMO a singularity has a massive magnetic field which I can't describe because of the interaction with gravity at the event horizon. The interaction between the singularities gravity and it's magnetic field is IMO responsible for the 'jests' at either side of the singularity. Mass is speeded up by gravity and will follow the magnetic lines towards the poles. Then some process makes some of the inbound mass to be accelerated outward. So no mass is coming from inside the singularity but some of the inbound mass is ejected again..


Our own sun will provide insight in the interaction between magnetism and gravity.
Mahal_Kita
1 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2011
"And if 'black' holes actually nucleate and eject new matter to grow galaxies from within' - tuxford

No reputable person in the scientific community has proposed this.

Did you hear it on Coast to Coast last week before the bit on Bigfoot?


In our space-time continuum a singularity is just that. Nothing will come out. Ever.
orgon
1 / 5 (3) Jun 16, 2011
The problem is, in relativity the photons have both zero rest mass, both zero dynamic mass. In Aether physics the mass of radiation generated with stars manifests like quite normal matter and it can condense somewhere else in clouds of dark matter. The matter just undulates in universe from place to place like the giant fluctuations of hypothetical gas via radiation. With compare to it, the mainstream cosmology is very schematic: it just considers, whole energy of Universe appeared from nothing(???) and now its just dispersed with neverending entropy increasing(???).

Of course, the intrinsic gravity of photons can manifest at very large cosmological distances only, because the light is fast. But because the light is moving very slowly inside/around of very dense matter, the same phenomena can explain breaking of symmetry, which we are observing in high energy physics. The notion of distance/energy density scale is relative there.