A team of researchers from the Cardiff University might be close to learning more about the processes tied to the birth of a supermassive black hole with the help of a new technique that allows it to take a close look at one of the massive objects.
The origin of supermassive black holes remains a hot topic in the scientific community as opinions are divided. Some argue that they formed after the Big Bang thanks to a phenomenon known as direct collapse, while others argue that they surfaced from a type of seed black holes created by the demise of massive stars.
Two points of view
If the first theory is real, it supermassive black holes would have an extremely large mass a birth, from thousands to millions of Suns, along with a minimum size that cannot vary.
In the case of the other theory, supermassive black holes would be considerably smaller at first, with an average size of 100 Suns. They would grow in time by consuming the stars and cosmic gas clouds that can be found around them. A missing link in the equation has been represented by the inability to find the lowest mass supermassive black holes.
The new study published by the team features information about one of the lowest-mass SMBH ever observed, which is located in the center of a close galaxy and has a mass equal to less than one million Suns.
A new technique applied with the help of the bleeding-edge Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, an array which allows researchers to observe a few of the coldest objects found in the universe. The supermassive black hole found in Mirach’s Ghost Galaxy seems to fit the requirements of the direct collapse models, and it is active.
More information can be found in the study, which was published in a scientific journal.