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Thread: How supermassive black holes might have formed

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    How supermassive black holes might have formed

    I was watching an episode of How the Universe Works where they were talking about the mystery of how supermassive black holes could have formed in the 13 billion years since the big bang. This is especially mysterious when distant (i.e. quasars). The problem is that feeding on dust takes too long.

    But wouldn't a supermassive black hole be the natural result of stellar collisions near the center of a forming galaxy? It's got to be pretty crowded there. Two stars collide, making a black hole. The black hole collides with another black hole formed the same way, etc. until you get the supermassive black hole as seen at the center of every galaxy. This model overcomes the slow rate of feeding from dust.

    This reminds me of the state of knowledge before we knew there was a supermassive black hole at the center of every galaxy. It should have been predicted that galaxies revolve around *something*, which would of course be too massive to be anything other than a black hole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Predrag3141 View Post
    ... wouldn't a supermassive black hole be the natural result of stellar collisions near the center of a forming galaxy? It's got to be pretty crowded there. Two stars collide, making a black hole. The black hole collides with another black hole formed the same way, etc. until you get the supermassive black hole as seen at the center of every galaxy. This model overcomes the slow rate of feeding from dust. ...
    What you're talking about would require a lot of colliding by tiny objects in a big space in a short time, which is why that is not at the top of the list of choices being investigated (but not ruled out).
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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    What you're talking about would require a lot of colliding by tiny objects in a big space in a short time, which is why that is not at the top of the list of choices being investigated (but not ruled out).
    That is a very interesting and surprising answer. My heuristic "pretty crowded" is not as crowded as I thought.

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    How did scientists predict that there is a supermassive black hole at the center of every large galaxy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zchapman21 View Post
    How did scientists predict that there is a supermassive black hole at the center of every large galaxy?
    It was more a matter of discovery than of prediction. Quasars were observed to be massive, compact objects at the centers of active galaxies, and other candidates were ruled out over time. Later observations make it look like a supermassive black hole is at the center of even non-active galaxies, but in these cases, have already absorbed most of the nearby matter. Wikipedia has a brief summary of the history.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Predrag3141 View Post
    ....It should have been predicted that galaxies revolve around *something*, which would of course be too massive to be anything other than a black hole.
    Actually, most supermassive black holes make up only a small percentage of the entire mass of the galaxy they inhabit. Stars orbiting in galaxies are revolving around the mass of all the stars and gas and dust that is interior to their orbits (which includes the nearly insignificant SMBH).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Predrag3141 View Post
    It should have been predicted that galaxies revolve around *something*, which would of course be too massive to be anything other than a black hole.
    But the SMBH is only the mass of a few thousand stars. Far too tiny to hold together a galaxy.

    It seems likely to be a consequence of the concentration of mass in a galactic core, rather than a cause of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zchapman21 View Post
    How did scientists predict that there is a supermassive black hole at the center of every large galaxy?
    Is there?
    Of the small galaxies, Magellanic Clouds and Triangulum are conspicuous for confirmed lack of black holes in centre. Are there any "large" galaxies confirmed to have not only no active black hole but also no inactive black hole at centre, like Triangulum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But the SMBH is only the mass of a few thousand stars. Far too tiny to hold together a galaxy.
    A supermassive black hole (SMBH) is.... on the order of hundreds of thousands to billions of solar masses (M).


    Quote Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
    Is there?..... Are there any "large" galaxies confirmed to have not only no active black hole but also no inactive black hole at centre, like Triangulum?
    Observational evidence indicates that all or nearly all massive galaxies contain a supermassive black hole, located at the galaxy's center.


    source: wiki.
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    Older thread alert.. no problem to revive it of course, just be aware that OP hasn't logged in since May last year.
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