Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Which Came First: Black Hole Or Galaxy?

Date:
January 14, 2000
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
U-M astronomer says black holes formed early and influenced galactic evolution.

U-M astronomer says black holes formed early and influenced galactic evolution.

ATLANTA --- A team of astronomers conducting a systematic search for supermassive black holes has discovered three more of the mysterious objects lurking in the centers of nearby elliptical galaxies. This brings the total number of supermassive black holes definitively identified so far to 20. The discovery was announced at a news conference held here Jan. 13 during the American Astronomical Society Meeting.

"The formation and evolution of galaxies are intimately connected to the presence of a central massive black hole," said Douglas Richstone, leader of the research team and a University of Michigan professor of astronomy. "Radiation and high-energy particles released by the formation and growth of black holes are the dominant sources of heat and kinetic energy for star-forming gas in protogalaxies."

Richstone says the team's conclusions are inferred from two pieces of evidence. First, all or nearly all galaxies with spheroidal distributions of stars (bulges in spirals) seem to have massive black holes. The mass of these objects seems to correlate with the mass of the central part of the host galaxy. "The ubiquity of this association, as well as the correlation, points to a connection between the massive black hole and the galaxy, and poses a 'chicken and egg' dilemma of which came first," Richstone said.

Second, comparisons of the history of star formation in the universe with the history of quasars, conducted by other scientists, reveal that quasars developed well before most star formation in galaxies. Quasars are extremely powerful bright objects capable of generating the luminosity of one trillion suns within a region the size of Mars' orbit.

"The massive black holes now seen in centers of galaxies are relics of these quasars," Richstone explained. "So these black holes must have been present at the height of the quasar epoch when the universe was about one billion years old."

To detect the existence of new black holes, Richstone and his colleagues use a computer model to detect abrupt changes in star velocity patterns as stars spiral closer to the galactic center. Input for the computer model comes from Hubble Space Telescope observations and ground-based spectroscopic data obtained at MDM Observatory, which is operated by the University of Michigan, Dartmouth College, Columbia University and Ohio State University. The technique was developed by Karl Gebhardt, a former U-M postdoctoral fellow, who is now affiliated with Lick Observatory at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

"Based on the size of the galaxy and the velocity pattern of stars at the core of the galaxy, we not only can detect the signal from a black hole, we also can estimate its mass," Gebhardt said. "Masses of the three new black holes detected with the model range from 50 million to 100 million suns, which continues our previously reported correlation of black hole mass with galaxy mass."

The team's newest black holes were identified in galaxies NGC 4473 and NGC 4697, located in the constellation Virgo, and NGC 821 in Aries. "Stellar orbital distributions in these three galaxies are characteristic of others studied with our model, suggesting a common history among all galaxies," Gebhardt said.

Other astronomers on the black-hole-census research team include Jason Pinkney, a U-M postdoctoral fellow; John Magorrian, Cambridge University; John Kormendy, University of Hawaii; Tod Lauer, Gary Bower and Richard Green, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO); Alan Dressler and Luis Ho, Carnegie Observatories; Sandra Faber and Alex Filippenko, University of California; Ralf Bender, Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich; and Scott Tremaine, Princeton University.

Research funding was provided by NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Which Came First: Black Hole Or Galaxy?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113103114.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2000, January 14). Which Came First: Black Hole Or Galaxy?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113103114.htm
University Of Michigan. "Which Came First: Black Hole Or Galaxy?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113103114.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) NASA reported the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, on August 24th. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The space shuttle Discovery launched for the very first time 30 years ago. Here's a look back at its legacy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins