Distant galaxies undergoing intense bursts of star formation have been shown by NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory to be fertile growing grounds for the largest black holes in the Universe. Collisions between galaxies in the early Universe may be the ultimate cause for both the accelerated star formation and black hole growth.
By combining the deepest X-ray image ever obtained with submillimeter and optical observations, an international team of scientists has found evidence that some extremely luminous adolescent galaxies and their central black holes underwent a phenomenal spurt of growth more than 10 billion years ago. This concurrent black hole and galaxy growth spurt is only seen in these galaxies and may have set the stage for the birth of quasars – distant galaxies that contain the largest and most active black holes in the Universe.
"The extreme distances of these galaxies allow us to look back in time, and take a snapshot of how todays largest galaxies looked when they were producing most of their stars and growing black holes, " said David Alexander of the University of Cambridge, UK, and lead author of a paper in the April 7, 2005 issue of Nature that describes this work.
Megan Watzke | EurekAlert!
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