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New recipe found for making supermassive black hole

Take two primordial galaxies, slam them together to create ‘dark collapse’

12:00pm, December 23, 2015

ANCIENT HEAVYWEIGHT  A quasar like the one illustrated here is an ultrabright galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its center. Scientists want to know how black holes grew fast enough to fuel quasars found less than a billion years after the Big Bang.

GENEVA — Monster black holes in the early universe may have taken an unusual route to becoming so massive.

Giant gas clouds in some of the universe’s first galaxies collapsed under their own gravity to form supermassive black holes, theoretical astrophysicist Lucio Mayer of the University of Zurich suggested December 15 at the Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics. The postulated process offers a major shortcut to supermassive status, as black holes are generally thought to start small and gradually grow by merging with each other and gobbling up matter. The mechanism also doesn’t rely on stars to spawn black holes in the first place.

Mayer’s proposal still has hurdles to clear before other astrophysicists accept it as viable. But if confirmed, it would solve the mystery of why astronomers keep spotting gargantuan black holes when the universe was

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