A monstrous hidden primordial black hole could change our understanding of the Universe

Fue descubierto en una de las galaxias más extremas del Universo primitivo, que está formando estrellas a un ritmo vertiginoso

A monstrous hidden primordial black hole could change our understanding of the Universe It was discovered in one of the most extreme galaxies in the early Universe, which is forming stars at a dizzying rate. A monstrous hidden primordial black hole could change our understanding of the Universe .

The discovery of a hidden primordial black hole, which has one billion solar masses and formed just 750 million years after the Big Bang, could be the “tip of the iceberg” for discovering the enormous cosmic structures hidden in the early Universe. . These objects would change our understanding of galaxy formation, showing that gigantic galaxy clusters with mature stars already existed a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, much earlier than has been indicated to date.

A group of American scientists discovered one of the most extreme galaxies ever recorded in the early Universe: called COS-87259, it is located approximately 12.7 billion light years from Earth, in the constellation Sextans. The galaxy, immersed in a frenzy of creating new stars, hid a one-of-a-kind supermassive black hole (SMBH), which astronomers consider to be a hitherto unknown variety of primordial black hole.

According to a press release from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in the United States, the research could provide interesting clues about the early formation of these huge structures and how to find them. The team of specialists, led by Ryan Endsley, a scientist from the University of Texas at Austin, used the facilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), considered the most powerful telescope to observe the “cold” Universe, including molecular gas. , interstellar dust, and radiation “footprints” from the Big Bang.

A “monster” in his guts According to the new study, recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), the researchers highlighted that the galaxy COS-87259, despite being so far away and belonging to an early stage of the cosmos, glowed brightly in the infrared. half.

That intense light was caused by the combination of its explosive star formation and the violent activity surrounding the supermassive black hole, located at the center of the galaxy. Both aspects are related to other recent discoveries, which also suggest that the early Universe could host huge galaxies and mature structures, in periods much closer to the Big Bang than indicated by the most accepted cosmological theories.

The primordial black hole identified in the new galaxy, which would have formed only approximately 750 million years after the initial outburst, is shrouded in a thick layer of interstellar dust and is a true “cosmic giant” with billions of solar masses.

Furthermore, this SMBH covers an area of ​​the sky that is just under ten times the size of the full Moon as seen from Earth. According to scientists, this means there could be thousands of these supermassive black holes, or active galactic nuclei (AGNs), waiting to be discovered at the heart of hidden galaxies in the distant cosmos.

Surprises in the primitive cosmos However, the supermassive black hole in COS-87259 seems to be special and one of a kind, because it ejects a jet of material into space at approximately the speed of light, in the same way that a quasar does. This indicates that it could be a kind of precursor to quasars and that few such primordial black holes would exist in the entire Universe.

Finally, the lead author of the study, Ryan Endsley, highlighted in the NRAO statement that “research results suggest that very early supermassive black holes were highly obscured by cosmic dust, perhaps as a consequence of the intense activity of star formation in their host galaxies.


ALMA confirmation of an obscured hyperluminous radio-loud AGN at z = 6.853 associated with a dusty starburst in the 1.5 deg2 COSMOS field. Ryan Endsley et al. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2023). DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stad266