Formation of early supermassive black holes

Formation of supermassive black holes. From a simulation by by Christian Reisswig (Caltech).

Main Point:

Researchers have found that early supermassive black holes probably formed as twins and then they merged into a single supermassive object.

Published in:

arXiv accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters

Study Further:

Black holes:

Black holes are the objects in space thought to contain such a strong gravitational pull that no matter or energy, not even light, can escape from it. Black holes are believed to form when stars collapse in upon themselves.

They are of different sizes ranging from smaller sized stellar-mass black holes that are produced from the death of stars to the larger supermassive black holes having upto billions of times of mass of our sun. Such supermassive black holes (SMBs) could be formed by eating the material from around the neighborhood but it is a mystery that how SMBs formed in the start of the universe.

Present Study:

In the present study, scientists tried to solve this mystery by using a model of supermassive stars that are hypothesized to be present for a short time in the early universe. Those stars were thought to become cool by the passage of time through the emission of photon radiation. As they got cold, central density started increasing until the gravitational instability started collapsing the star.

During the collapsing phase of stars, scientists predicted that there would be tiny perturbations that grew with the passage of time causing the gas inside the star to clump and to form high-density fragments, the density of which started increasing. Moreover, their temperature might also increase with time that would produce the electron-positron pairs resulting in loss of pressure resulting in further collapse leading to such density of two orbiting fragments that black holes formed. These black holes might move around one another before becoming a single large black hole.

“This is a new finding,” Christian Reisswig, NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow in Astrophysics at Caltech and the lead author of the study, said in a statement. “Nobody has ever predicted that a single collapsing star could produce a pair of black holes that then merge.”

You can see the video of the simulation here (


From One Collapsing Star, Two Black Holes Form and Fuse – California Institute of Technology (

C. Reisswig, C. D. Ott, E. Abdikamalov, R. Haas, P. Moesta, & E. Schnetter (2013). Formation and Coalescence of Cosmological Supermassive Black Hole
Binaries in Supermassive Star Collapse arXiv arXiv: 1304.7787v2

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."