MessageToEagle.com - It is still unknown how the supermassive black holes (SMBH) in galaxy centres accrete gas and grow.
Researchers from the University of Leicester (UK) and Monash University in Australia have investigated how some
black holes got so big so fast that they are billions of times heavier than the sun.
Recently they have put forward a new theory about why black holes become so hugely massive - claiming some of
them have no 'table manners', and tip their 'food' directly into their mouths, eating more than one course simultaneously.
"Almost every galaxy has an enormously massive black hole in its centre. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has one about
four million times heavier than the sun.
But some galaxies have black holes a thousand times heavier still. We know they grew very quickly after the Big Bang,"
Professor Andrew King from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, said.
"These hugely massive black holes were already full--grown when the universe was very young, less than a tenth of its present age."
Black holes grow by sucking in gas.
This forms a disc around the hole and spirals in, but usually so slowly that the holes could not have grown to these
huge masses in the entire age of the universe.
"We needed a faster mechanism,' says Chris Nixon, also at Leicester, "so we wondered what would happen if gas came in
from different directions."
Artist concept of a growing black hole, or quasar, seen at the center of a faraway galaxy. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Nixon, King and their colleague Daniel Price in Australia made a computer simulation of two gas discs orbiting a black
hole at different angles.
After a short time the discs spread and collide, and large amounts of gas fall into the hole.
According to their calculations black holes can grow 1,000 times faster when this happens.
"If two guys ride motorbikes on a Wall of Death and they collide, they lose the centrifugal force holding them to the
walls and fall," says King. The same thing happens to the gas in these discs, and it falls in towards the hole.
This may explain how these black holes got so big so fast. "We don't know exactly how gas flows inside galaxies in
the early universe," said King, "but I think it is very promising that if the flows are chaotic it is very easy for
the black hole to feed."
The two biggest black holes ever discovered are each about ten billion times bigger than the Sun.
The research, funded by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, is due to published in the Monthly Notices
of the Royal Astronomical Society.
MessageToEagle.com via University of Leicester/http://www.astro.le.ac.uk/~cjn12/papers/twist.pdf
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