London, Aug 26 (ANI): Astronomers believe they have discovered how the first super-massive black holes were born.
The discovery about the origin of our universe's first super-massive black holes, which formed some 13 billion years ago, fills in a missing chapter of our universe's early history, and could help write the next chapter - in which scientists better understand how gravity and dark matter formed the universe as we know it.
Ohio State University astronomer Stelios Kazantzidis and colleagues describe computer simulations in which they modeled the evolution of galaxies and black holes during the first few billion years after the Big Bang.
Our universe is thought to be 14 billion years old. Other astronomers recently determined that big galaxies formed much earlier in the universe's history than previously thought - within the first 1 billion years, Kazantzidis explained.
These new computer simulations show that the first-ever super-massive black holes were likely born when those early galaxies collided and merged together.
"Our results add a new milestone to the important realization of how structure forms in the universe," he said.
For more than two decades, the prevailing wisdom among astronomers has been that galaxies evolved hierarchically - that is, gravity drew small bits of matter together first, and those small bits gradually came together to form larger structures.
Kazantzidis and his team turn that notion on its head.
"Together with these other discoveries, our result shows that big structures - both galaxies and massive black holes - build up quickly in the history of the universe. Amazingly, this is contrary to hierarchical structure formation," he said.
The study appears in the journal Nature. (ANI)