May 16, 2022

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NASA discovers a rapidly growing black hole - the "missing link" linking the origins of the universe that were once hidden in plain sight.

NASA discovers a rapidly growing black hole – the “missing link” linking the origins of the universe that were once hidden in plain sight.

It’s a question that has plagued astronomers for years: How did this happen? supermassive black holes, which could weigh billions of times the mass of the Sun, grow very, very fast? Now, scientists are closer than ever to an answer.

NASA announced Last week, there was a possible “missing link” between the universe’s first supermassive black holes and young star-forming galaxies that were hiding in plain sight — and that helps explain some of the mysteries of how the universe formed.

Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have found a rapidly growing black hole called GNz7q. Scientists say it “lurks unnoticed” in one of the most heavily studied regions of the sky, the Great Observations Origins Deep Survey-North.

Use of archival data from HubbleAdvanced Camera for Surveys, a team of international researchers determined that the “monster” object existed only 750 million years after the Big Bang, during the “cosmic dawn” – the early period after the birth of our universe. It is the first of its kind to be discovered.

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An international team of astronomers has discovered a unique object in the distant universe that represents a crucial link between young star-forming galaxies and the oldest supermassive black holes. The object, denoted as GNz7q, is the red dot in the center of the image of the Greater Hubble Observatories of the Deep Survey of Origins to the North.

NASA, ESA, Garth Ellingworth (UC Santa Cruz), Pascal Auch (University of California Santa Cruz, Yale), Richard Bowens (LEI), E. LAPI (LEI), and the Center for Cosmic Dawn / Niels Bohr Institute / University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Scientists have found a compressed source of ultraviolet and infrared radiation, which cannot be attributed to star formation alone; Instead, it matches the radiation expected from material falling into the black hole. They say the best explanation is a rapidly growing black hole covered in dust, which will eventually appear as an a quasara wonderful source of light in the heart of a small galaxy.

This type of black hole turning into a super-luminous quasar has been predicted by theories and computer simulations, but has never been observed — until now. Results published in Nature magazine.

“Our analysis indicates that GNz7q is the first example of a rapidly growing black hole in the dusty core of a starburst galaxy in an era close to the oldest known supermassive black hole in the universe,” said lead author Seiji Fujimoto. “The properties of the object across the electromagnetic spectrum are in excellent agreement with the predictions of theoretical simulations.”

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This is an artist’s impression of a supermassive black hole within the dust-covered core of an active, star-forming “starburst” galaxy. It will eventually become a very bright quasar once the dust has cleared.

NASA, ESA, N Bartmann


Fujimoto continued: “GNz7q provides a direct link between these two rare populations and provides a new way to understand the rapid growth of supermassive black holes in the early days of the universe.” “Our discovery provides an example of precursors to supermassive black holes that we observe in later eras.”

Other interpretations of the data are possible, but the scientists say the observations are in strong agreement with their previous theories. They were surprised to find the huge find at what would be considered a more visible site, indicating the possibility of many similar objects.

“GNz7q is a unique find found in the middle of a famous and well-studied sky field – it shows that big discoveries can often be hidden in front of you,” said team member Gabriel Brammer. “It is unlikely that the discovery of GNz7q within the relatively small GOODS-North survey region was just ‘foolish luck,’ but rather that the prevalence of such sources may in fact be much higher than previously thought.”

Next, the team plans to search for relevant objects using custom surveys. The researchers will also use the newly launched device James Webb Space TelescopeSpectroscopy tools to further study GNz7q in more detail – and find out how common these types of objects are.

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