The European Southern Observatory (ESO) reports that for the first time in the early universe, a close group of galaxies has been discovered surrounding a supermassive black hole.
Observations were made using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Astronomers were able to identify a group of six galaxies surrounding a supermassive black hole less than one billion years – 0.9 billion – after the Big Bang. Until now, such structures have not been found.
The observed galaxies are located within a colossal gas web, stretching over a distance of more than 300 times the size of the Milky Way. As for the black hole itself, it is a billion times the mass of our Sun.
“To reach the mass of the order of a billion Suns in the first 0.9 billion years of the universe’s life, primordial black holes, believed to be formed as a result of the collapse of the first stars, had to grow at a very high rate.“- notes ESO.
The main question is where black holes can get so much “food” for their rapid growth. The structure found just gives the answer: the cosmic “web” and galaxies inside it contain enough gas to ensure the transformation of the central black hole into a supermassive giant.
The very same “web” could be formed thanks to the mysterious dark matter. “Apparently, at the early stage of the Universe’s existence, huge regions of invisible matter attract large masses of gas. Together with dark matter, this gas forms cobweb-like structures within which galaxies and black holes can evolve.“, – the scientists conclude.
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