Growing black hole found in a distant galaxy

We have discussed it many times and, each time, we have not missed the opportunity to repeat it: the black hole is probably the celestial body that, due to its mysterious and elusive nature, most attracts the attention of the scientific community. Despite their quantity and diffusion (almost all large galaxies have one), elements that make them common, black holes continue to be the subject of studies, analysis and questioning of various kinds.

One of the most common questions is: how are they really formed? Today we can give an approximate answer, yes, but taking into account that many of these celestial bodies were born when the Universe was still “young” and therefore did not form before our eyes, there is no certainty. Or, at least, there wasn’t until today, as scientists have now found a very fast growing one.

The discovery of the fast growing black hole
Let’s take a step back: what were scientists at the University of Texas and the University of Arizona looking for when they stumbled upon this black hole? Basically, the team of international researchers dedicated themselves to the study of primordial galaxies, with the aim of drawing a picture of their formation and, in general, learning more about what is the past of our universe.

As anyone who loves to observe the sky knows, all our eyes on the celestial vault are turned towards the past: light travels at a speed that takes a long time to reach us and even the stars that shine in our nights are nothing more than echoes of other times And this is precisely the crucial point, because by observing a specific galaxy, called COS-87259, scientists have discovered the fast-growing black hole that can be identified as a nascent black hole, gaining a unique and unprecedented view of its formation.

A look at the formation of black holes.
Upon detecting the presence of the black hole, scientists have decided to focus several telescopes belonging to various space agencies on COS-87259. The most successful observation, however, was the one made with the Atacama Large Millimeter Arrangement (ALMA), which made it possible to discover that the mysterious celestial body is still wrapped in the so-called cosmic dust or a set of debris and materials that characterize the first stages of the existence of each black hole.

Cosmic dust is also causing the emission of almost all of its light in the mid-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum and has also generated a strong jet of material that moved at the speed of light through the host galaxy – all signs identifiable with the evolution of a black hole, which is growing at a truly uncontrollable speed, showing scientists in all its stages of formation very fast and overwhelming.

The growing black hole and the history of the universe.
During the observation, the scientists also discovered that the galaxy COS-87259, which hosts this new supermassive black hole, is quite extreme: it generates stars and celestial bodies at a rate 1000 times faster than the Milky Way and contains more than a billion masses. solar interstellar dust. “What’s particularly surprising,” said Ryan Endsley, lead author of the black hole studies, “is that this galaxy is in a relatively small area of the sky where you certainly wouldn’t expect to find a supermassive black hole.”

“This suggests to us that there may actually be many other rapidly forming and evolving black holes to observe,” Endsley continues. Putting them together means answering many questions about the prevalence of supermassive black holes AND about the types of galaxies that emerge from them, which implies the ability to write in detail the history of our Universe.”