Trying to figure out who the first supermassive black holes of the universe were born is not a simple task and it is something that scientists have been trying to discover for years. This time it appears that they might have cracked the mystery. A new study indicates that the “halos” of dark matter might have played a big part.
“In this study, we have uncovered a totally new mechanism that sparks the formation of massive black holes in particular dark-matter halos,” explained study lead author John Wise, an associate professor in the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
What did the scientists analyze?
Until now it was believed that radiation from other galaxies led to the birth of black holes. The previous theories indicated that radiation used material from the formation of normal stars in order to incorporate it in black holes.
“Instead of just considering radiation, we need to look at how quickly the halos grow,” Wise explained. “We don’t need that much physics to understand it — just how the dark matter is distributed and how gravity will affect that. Forming a massive black hole requires being in a rare region with an intense convergence of matter.”
The took a look at simulations that presented the early stages of the universe’s evolution. They soon discovered that dark matter halos that had gas clouds, and no stars. The team used more simulations to analyze two of those halos.
“It was only in these overly dense regions of the universe that we saw these black holes forming,” Wise said. “The dark matter creates most of the gravity, and then the gas falls into that gravitational potential, where it can form stars or a massive black hole.”
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