83 supermassive black holes in the early Universe discovered
An international team of astronomers discovered 83 quasars in the early Universe, at a time when the Universe was only a tenth of its present age. These quasars powered by supermassive black holes are giving scientists valuable information about the first billion years of the Universe’s history.
The discoveries were reported in five róThe two have been published in various publications, whichóre detailedólarly describe the properties of the objectów. Two have appeared in „The Astrophysical Journal” (1 i 2). The rest in: „The Astrophysical Journal Letters”, „The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series” and in „Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan”. Astronomers from Japan and Taiwan, as well as from the U.S. Princeton University, are behind the discoveries.
The results of the published study greatly increase the number of known black holes in the early Universe. They also show that such objects were common early in history. In addition, they give an indication ofówings on the impact of black holes on the physical state of gas during the first billion years of the.
Scientists have observed the 100th quasarów of the early Universe. We already knew about 17 of them. Quasars are among the brightest objectsóin the Universe. They are a type of galactic nuclei and are driven by supermassive black holes at the center, surrounded by an accretion disk formed by falling matter. Matter falling into a black hole releases gigantic amounts of energy, które manifested in the form of extremely intense electromagnetic radiation, whichóre covers almost the entire spectrum: from radio waves to high-energy gamma rays.
– It is remarkable that such massive, dense objects could have formed so quickly after the Big Bang, said Princeton University’s Michael Strauss, one of the co-authors of the studyólutoróin the study. – Understanding how black holes can form in the early Universe and how common they are is a challenge for our cosmological models – added.
Supermassive black holes located at the centers of galaxies may be millions or even billions of times more massive than the Sun. Although they are common today, it is unclear when they first formed and how many existed in the early Universe. A supermassive black hole becomes visible as it gathers around theóo gas falling on it, causing it to glow as a „quasar”.
Previous studies allowed to see only the brightest quasars, whichówhich are very rare, but the studies haveóthey exist with the most massive black holes. New findings explore population of fainter quasarsóin, powered by black holes with masses cfóThe properties of this object are similar to those of most black holes seen in the modern UniverseóThe author of.
TeamóThe researcher used data from the state-of-the-art Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) instrument mounted on the Subaru telescope at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, whichóry is located on top of Maunakea in Hawaii. HSC has a gigantic field of view – 1.77 degrees – that’s seven times the area of the full moon. It is mounted on one of the largest telescopesóin the world.
The researchers first chose a candidateów on quasars using HSC data. They then conducted an intensive observational campaign to obtain spectra of these candidatesów. To do this, the scientists used three telescopesów: the Subaru telescope, the Gran Telescopio Canarias on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands and the Gemini South Telescope in Chile.
Study reveals 83 previously unknown very distant quasars. Along with the 17 quasars already known, scientists have discovered that there is roughly one supermassive black hole per cubic giga-ray. In other words, if we divided the Universe into cubes of a billion light years, each cube would contain one supermassive black hole.
Light from one of the most distant quasars known to usów, powered by a supermassive black hole lying 13.05 billion light years from Earth. The other objects are mainlyówno stars in the Milky Way or galaxies along the line of sight. Photo. National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Quasars, about whichóhelium hydride molecules in question are located around 13 billionólight years from Earth. This means that we see them as they were 13 billionów years ago. The Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago, so this research is a look into the distant past to timeów, when the Universe was only 800 millionóin years.
Scientists believe that waterór in the early Universe was split into its component protons and electrons – at a time when the first generation of stars, galaxies and supermassive black holes were born. This took place in the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang. It’s a key milestone in cosmic history, but astronomers still don’t know what provided the incredible amount of energy needed to do it.
One hypothesis suggests that quasars are responsible – któr of which there were many more in the early Universe – and their integrated radiation. But not everyone agrees with her. – The number of observed quasarsów shows that this is not the case. There are far fewer of them than are needed to explain this puzzle, said Robert Lupton of Princeton University.
Based on the results so far, the compositeół scientistów hopes to find even more distant black holes. They may be able to discover when the first supermassive black hole appeared in the Universe.