Dark matter affects black holes

Black holes born of dark matter

US researchers have a new explanation for primeval quasars.

Even in the early universe, only 700 million years after the Big Bang, there are supposed to have been supermassive black holes (with a mass of around one billion solar masses). We see them - or the environment they have eaten - today as brightly shining quasars (galaxy nuclei) whose light is 13 million years old. But how these monsters are supposed to have come about is unclear. Their early existence contradicts the theory that they gradually formed in the center of pre-existing galaxies. Astrophysicists working with John Wise (University of California, San Diego) now present in Nature (January 23) a model obtained with massive computational effort: According to this, the supermassive black holes formed at the same time as “their” galaxies, and very quickly.

According to today's belief, the beginning of the formation of galaxies is not normal matter consisting of atoms, but dark matter, that unknown substance which, according to cosmologists, makes up 23 percent of the universe. (72 percent is said to be the even more mysterious dark energy, only 5 percent normal matter.) This dark matter clumps together to form halos, the spherical structures of galaxies. In the very dense early universe, no stars at all, but black holes were created, says John Wise: “We don't need a lot of physics to understand that, just how dark matter is distributed and how gravity influences it.” By the way The new model calculation shows that massive black holes are much more common than previously assumed. (tk)

("Die Presse", print edition, January 24th, 2019)