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The mystery of black holes in the early universe

9 November 2013

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/11/mystery-of-supermassive-black-hole… … it sounds a bit like a hypothetical mystery created by a hypothetical model. The growth of black holes to supermassive scales in the young universe seems only possible if the seed mass of the collapsing object was already sufficiently large. A Caltech astrophysicist is reported as saying black holes are supposed to gain mass and increase in size by picking up the materials around them – a process known as accretion (or by merging with other black holes). Having big brains they plan to make a model containing big stars in the early universe, supermassive stars that will exist just for a short time (otherwise they will throw a spanner into everything else). The big stars will be stabilised against gravity by their own photoradiation (the outward flux of photon generated as a result of high temperatures within the stars). This is realised in a rather clever way, the high temperature pushed gas from the star outwards where at the same time gravitational forces push the gas back in. Where the two forces are equal, the balance is called hydrostatic equilibrium. However, as time proceeds ever onwards the star loses heat, they say, and eventually collapses – and eventually becomes a supermassive black hole. Simples really. The researchers also pat themselves on the back for dreaming this up by claiming 'this is a new finding. Nobody has ever predicted that a single collapsing star  could produce a pair of black holes that then merge …'. It is of course all done by computer simulation – but never be surprised by human ingenuity, or in this instance, human imagination.

A similar story is at http://phys.org/print303024020.html … black holes merging and causing ripples in space and time. The pulsing cores of dead stars are being looked for in order to detect the ripples or gravitational waves thought to be out there. Apparently, scientists know these waves exist but have yet to directly detect them.

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