Cosmic weight watching reveals black hole-galaxy history

Cosmic weight watching reveals black hole-galaxy history
Colors in this image of the galaxy J090543.56+043347.3 indicate whether there is gas moving towards us or away from us, and at what speed. Using this information, the researchers reconstructed the galaxys dynamical mass. The star shape indicates the position of the galaxys active nucleus; the surrounding contour lines indicate brightness levels for light emitted by the nucleus. Dark blue pixels indicate gas moving towards us at a speed of 250 km/s, dark red pixels gas moving away from us at 350 km/s. Credit: K. J. Inskip/MPIA

( -- Using state-of-the-art technology and sophisticated data analysis tools, a team of astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has developed a new and powerful technique to directly determine the mass of an active galaxy at a distance of nearly 9 billion light-years from Earth. This pioneering method promises a new approach for studying the co-evolution of galaxies and their central black holes. First results indicate that for galaxies, the best part of cosmic history was not a time of sweeping changes.

One of the most intriguing developments in astronomy over the last few decades is the realization that not only do most contain central black holes of gigantic size, but also that the mass of these central black holes are directly related to the mass of their . This correlation is predicted by the current of , the so-called hierarchical model, as from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have recently shown.

When astronomers look out to greater and greater distances, they look further and further into the past. Investigating this black hole-galaxy mass correlation at different distances, and thus at different times in , allows astronomers to study galaxy and black hole evolution in action.

For galaxies further away than 5 billion light-years (corresponding to a redshift of z > 0.5), such studies face considerable difficulties. The typical objects of study are so-called active galaxies, and there are well-established methods to estimate the mass of such a galaxy's central black hole. It is the galaxy's mass itself that is the challenge: At such distances, standard methods of estimating a galaxy's mass become exceedingly uncertain or fail altogether.

Now, a team of astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, led by Dr. Katherine Inskip, has, for the first time, succeeded in directly "weighing" both a galaxy and its central black hole at such a great distance using a sophisticated and novel method. The galaxy, known to astronomers by the number J090543.56+043347.3 (which encodes the galaxy's position in the sky) has a distance of 8.8 billion light-years from Earth (redshift z = 1.3).

Cosmic weight watching reveals black hole-galaxy history
In ordinary images such as this one from the Sloan Digital Survey, J090543.56+043347.3 appears as a featureless blob of light. Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

The astronomers succeeded in measuring directly the so-called dynamical mass of this active galaxy. The key idea is the following: A galaxy's stars and gas clouds orbit the galactic centre; for instance, our Sun orbits the centre of the Milky Way galaxy once every 250 million years. The stars' different orbital speeds are a direct function of the galaxy's mass distribution. Determine orbital speeds and you can determine the galaxy's total mass.

This is much easier said than done. In order to secure their measurement, the cosmic weightwatchers had to pull out all the stops of observational astronomy before finally obtaining a reliable value for the dynamical mass of J090543.56+043347.3. Combining this result with the mass value of the galaxy's central black hole, which the researchers measured from the same dataset, the result is the same that would be expected for a present-day galaxy. Apparently, nothing major has changed between now and then: At least out to this distance, 9 billion years into the past, the correlation between galaxies and their appears to be the same as for their modern-day counterparts.

Inskip and her colleagues are already hard at work to expand their novel kind of analysis to a larger set of 15 further galaxies. If this confirms their conclusions from J090543.56+043347.3, that would indicate that, over the past 9 billion years – for more than half of the age of our Universe! – most galaxies have lived comparatively boring lives, subject to only very limited and slow change.

Explore further

Computer Finds Massive Black Hole in Nearby Galaxy

More information: K. J. Inskip, et al., Resolving the Dynamical Mass of a z ~ 1.3 Quasi-stellar Object Host Galaxy Using SINFONI and Laser Guide Star Assisted Adaptive Optics, Astrophysical Journal, Volume 739, Issue 2, article id. 90 (2011)
Citation: Cosmic weight watching reveals black hole-galaxy history (2011, September 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from
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Sep 30, 2011

It sounds like this technique may be able to collect observational information [1,2] on:

a.) Coalescence vs
b.) Fragmentation of

The compact objects at cores of galaxies:

a.) Black Holes powered by gravitational attraction
b.) Massive neutron stars powered by neutron repulsion

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

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


With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo

Sep 30, 2011
"The compact objects at cores of galaxies:

a.) Black Holes powered by gravitational attraction
b.) Massive neutron stars powered by neutron repulsion"

Why do you ignore a legitimate scientific question of your *theory* regarding the formation of galaxies.......

As I have asked elsewhere ( http://www.physor...ght.html ), how do galaxies with no nuclei form from the fragmentation of "massive neutron stars" "at the cores of galaxies"? I see no mention of this process in any of the material you usually link. Have I missed it?

Sep 30, 2011
@yyz, it doesn't respond to questions, only RSS updates with a big 'Congratulations!'

Sep 30, 2011
How do galaxies with no nuclei form?

Which one has no nucleus?

Eventually all galaxies will have no nucleus, because the nucleus is disappearing by

a.) Fragmentation (fission, supernovae explosions) and/or

b.) Neutron emission, followed by decay to H and discharge in stellar winds.

Then expansion of the universe will cease. Gravitational collapse will occur.

Please read these papers [1-5] and ask specific questions:

1. "Elemental and isotopic inhomogeneities in noble gases: The case for local synthesis of the chemical elements", Trans. MO Acad. Sci. 9, 104-122 (1975)

2. Etc, etc., etc. for the next 36 years

3. "The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass", Phys Atomic Nuclei 69, 1847-1856 (2006)

4. "Neutron Repulsion", APEIRON J., in press (2011)

5. "Is the Universe Expanding?", J. Cosmology 13, 4187-4190 (2011)


Sep 30, 2011
"Eventually all galaxies will have no nucleus, because the nucleus is disappearing by...."

Do you have any independent refs ,by independent researchers, for that statement. Also do you have any independent refs of *observations* of ultra-dense "supermassive" nuclear bodies "fragmenting" and actively forming a fully sized galaxy over, say, the last 10 yeasrs? I know how you value experimental observations over all other types of evidence, right?

Sep 30, 2011
Since Oliver insists galaxies begin as solid objects composed of Neutronium, from which neutrons can escape, let's calculate the largest-possible such body based on escape velocity given by the simple Newtonian formula:

Ve = (2GM/r)^0.5

'Ve': escape velocity
'G': gravitational constant
'M': mass of the body
'r': the body's radius

Assume uniform density D = 3x10^17 kg/m^3 (denisty of atomic nucleus), and assume spherical body with volume V:

M = V * D = 4/3 * PI * r^3 * D

Substituting for M in Ve equation and simplifying:

Ve = (2G * 4/3 * PI * D)^0.5 * r

Ve cannot exceed speed of light: Ve < c

Thus r < c / (2G * 4/3 * PI * D)^0.5 = 23,155 m

Plugging into equation for M, that's a ball of Neutronium no heftier than 1.6x10^31 kg.

1 solar mass: 1.99x10^30 kg

Thus, no proto-galactic Neutronium body (and therefore, no resulting galaxy) can exceed 8 solar masses in total bulk, according to Oliver.

Who said he wasn't a 'visionary'? Not I, sir, not I...

Oct 01, 2011
PinkElephant - Well put, Game, set, match.
And no stars greater than eight solar masses could come from neutron repulsion either.

Oliver - Go out and look at Orion.
The brightest star, Rigel, has ~20 solar masses.
A 20-solar-mass ball of neutronium would be a black hole, so Rigel couldn't have formed from neutronium.

Oct 03, 2011
The Spammer strikes again. How many threads this time?

So just how do Neutron Stars form when neutron repulsion is alleged by you to be so powerful that it stops Black Holes from forming no matter how large the mass?

Ignoring the question won't magically make you right Oliver. The ideas are contradictory and I bet even the Plasma Universe Cranks can see that now that it has been pointed out.


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