We may be about to discover more information before the first billion years of the universe’s life. An international team of astronomers has been able to identify the “missing link” between early galaxies and supermassive black holes, using archived data from old observations from the Hubble Space Telescope.
The object in question was called “GNz7q” and, at first glance, it’s nothing more than a red dot in a series of images recently released by NASA and reproduced below.
“The object actually existed when the universe was just a baby, only 750 million years after the Big Bang,” says an excerpt from the disclosure on the NASA website. “The mixing of body radiation cannot be attributed only to the process of star formation. The best explanation is that it is a growing black hole enveloped in cosmic dust. In time, the black hole will emerge from the dust “cocoon” in the form of a bright quasar, and a dense “beacon” of light in its core An ancient galaxy.”
According to the statement, the discovery is startling and dynamic: this is because GNz7q has completely gone unnoticed, even though it was in one of Hubble’s most studied regions – the field Great Observatories Deep Survey Origins – North (Northern Commodities). The text notes that this serves as evidence of the continuous motions of the universe: even if we observe an already known region, a lot can still change when we don’t look.
The research team identified infrared and ultraviolet signals that do not correspond to emissions from galaxies, but are very common in emissions from material falling into a black hole. Black holes covered in thick clouds of dust have already been targets of our scientific theories – but this is the first time we’ve observed one directly.
Our analysis indicates that GNz7q is the first example of a rapidly growing black hole at the heart of a dust-filled galaxy born near the oldest supermassive black hole in the universe. [nota: esse é o J0313-1806, formado quando o universo não chegava a 700 milhões de anos]Seiji Fujimoto, an astronomer at the Niels Bohr Institute, associated with the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and lead author of a research paper on the topic, published in Nature. “The properties of this object throughout the electromagnetic spectrum are consistent with predictions made in theoretical simulations”;
Although it’s still not possible to definitively say it’s a supermassive black hole in the making (and the team is investigating other possible explanations), this visualization is the closest to explaining all the elements observed: GNz7q, according to the group, is in a galaxy. Stars form at least 1,600 solar masses per year (interstellar galaxy) – and the object itself is bright in the ultraviolet spectrum and very faint in X-rays, which corresponds to a black hole still absorbing matter.
said Gabriel Brammer, an astronomer also based at Niels Bohr and a member of the team behind the study. “The detection of GNz7q in the relatively small search region of GOODS-North is unlikely to be ‘pure luck,’ but it is possible that the detection of such sources will be higher than previously thought.”
The full study can be accessed through Nature Magazine. The team intends to continue the research, taking advantage of the increased observation capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope, which was launched at Christmas 2021.
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