Supermassive Black Hole Origins NASA Hubble Space Telescope GNz7q
Supermassive black hole origins have been a mystery to astronomers for decades, but a recently identified object could be the ‘missing link’. They are thought to start their lives in the core of a star-forming galaxy before expelling the surrounding gas as well as dust and emerging as highly luminous quasars. Using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the team noticed that the GNz7q black hole had been hiding in one of the best-studied areas of the night sky and existed just 750 million years after the big bang.

Why is GNz7q the missing link? It boasts both aspects of the dusty starburst galaxy and the quasar, yet lacks various features that are usually observed in typical, very luminous quasars. The latter corresponds to the emission from the accretion disk of the supermassive black hole, which possibly means that the central black hole in GN7q is still in a young and less massive phase. When all of these properties are combined, they perfectly match with the young, transition phase quasar that has been predicted in simulations. The accretion disk of a typical massive black hole should be very luminous in both UV and X-ray light. However, these huge rings surrounding a black hole remain a mystery.

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Supermassive Black Hole Origins NASA Hubble Space Telescope

Our analysis suggests that GNz7q is the first example of a rapidly growing black hole in the dusty core of a starburst galaxy at an epoch close to the earliest supermassive black hole known in the universe. The object’s properties across the electromagnetic spectrum are in excellent agreement with predictions from theoretical simulations,” said Seiji Fujimoto, an astronomer at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen.

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