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Next-generation telescopes could detect the direct collapse of enormous black holes near the beginning of time

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The first black holes to appear in the universe may have formed from the direct collapse of gas. When they collapsed, they released a flood of radiation, including radio waves. A new study has found that the next generation of massive radio telescopes may be able to detect these bursts, giving precious insights into a critical epoch in the history of the universe.
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Astronomers have identified supermassive black holes stretching almost back to the beginning of the universe, when it was less than 700 million years old. The usual routes of black hole formation (via the deaths of massive stars, followed by gorging on surrounding material) have trouble producing such giant black holes so early in the history of the universe.

One way to build giant black holes is to have them simply… appear. If a large enough cloud of gas (say, 1 million times the mass of the sun) can collapse quickly enough, then stars won't have time to form and the cloud directly forms a giant black hole.

This is a hypothesis, and hypotheses need to be tested. Surely such a momentous…
Paul M. Sutter
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