New Origin of Supermassive Black Holes Revealed by Supercomputer Simulation

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Formation of Supermassive Stars

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Artist’s impression of the development of supermassive stars which develop into a supermassive great void. Credit: NAOJ

Computer simulations performed by astrophysicists at Tohoku University in Japan, have actually exposed a brand-new theory for the origin of supermassive great voids. In this theory, the precursors of supermassive great voids grow by engulfing not just interstellar gas, however likewise smaller sized stars too. This assists to discuss the a great deal of supermassive great voids observed today.

Distribution of Matter Universe Simulation

Snapshots of the simulations revealing the circulation of matter in the Universe at the time of great void development (top) and the density circulation of black hole-producing gas clouds (bottom). Credit: Sunmyon Chon

Almost every galaxy in the contemporary Universe has a supermassive great void at its center. Their masses can often rise to 10 billion times the mass of the Sun. However, their origin is still among the excellent secrets of astronomy. A popular theory is the direct collapse design where primitive clouds of interstellar gas collapse under self-gravity to form supermassive stars which then develop into supermassive great voids. But previous research studies have actually revealed that direct collapse just deals with beautiful gas including just hydrogen and helium. Heavier aspects such as carbon and oxygen alter the gas characteristics, triggering the collapsing gas to piece into numerous smaller sized clouds which form little stars of their own, instead of a couple of supermassive stars. Direct collapse from beautiful gas alone can’t discuss the a great deal of supermassive great voids seen today.


The black dots represent enormous stars and the white dots represent stars with little masses. While enormous stars are formed in the center of the gas cloud, various smaller sized stars are likewise formed from the surrounding gas as it strongly separates. Many of the smaller sized stars move with the circulation of gas and combine with the enormous stars. Credit: Sunmyon Chon

Sunmyon Chon, a postdoctoral fellow at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Tohoku University and his group utilized the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s supercomputer “ATERUI II” to carry out long-lasting 3D high-resolution simulations to check the possibility that supermassive stars might form even in heavy-element-enriched gas. Star development in gas clouds consisting of heavy aspects has actually been challenging to replicate due to the fact that of the computational expense of replicating the violent splitting of the gas, however advances in calculating power, particularly the high computation speed of “ATERUI II” commissioned in 2018, permitted the group to conquer this obstacle. These brand-new simulations make it possible to study the development of stars from gas clouds in more information.

Distribution of Matter Simulation

Snapshots of the simulations revealing the density circulation of black hole-producing gas clouds. The black dots near the center of the figure represent enormous stars, which are believed to develop into a great void in time. The white dots represent stars that are smaller sized than 10 solar mass and were formed by the fragmentation of the gas cloud. Many of the smaller sized stars combine with the supermassive stars at the center, permitting the enormous stars to grow effectively. Credit: Sunmyon Chon

Contrary to previous forecasts, the research study group discovered that supermassive stars can still form from heavy-element enriched gas clouds. As anticipated, the gas cloud separates strongly and many smaller sized stars form. However, there is a strong gas circulation towards the center of the cloud; the smaller sized stars are dragged by this circulation and are swallowed-up by the enormous stars in the center. The simulations led to the development of an enormous star 10,000 time more enormous than the Sun. “This is the first time that we have shown the formation of such a large black hole precursor in clouds enriched in heavy-elements. We believe that the giant star thus formed will continue to grow and evolve into a giant black hole,” states Chon.

Mass Distribution of Stars Formed

Mass circulation of stars formed in the simulation of gas clouds consisting of heavy aspects. In this research study, the advancement of the very first stars was computed over approximately 10,000 years following their development. The existence of heavy aspects such as carbon and oxygen triggers the gas cloud to separate strongly, leading to a circulation with a peak around one solar mass. On the other hand, a supermassive star 10,000 times the mass of the Sun would likewise form at the very same time. It is believed that the supermassive stars will grow even more in mass and ultimately develop into a supermassive great void. Credit: Sunmyon Chon

This brand-new design reveals that not just primitive gas, however likewise gas consisting of heavy aspects can form huge stars, which are the seeds of great voids. “Our new model is able to explain the origin of more black holes than the previous studies, and this result leads to a unified understanding of the origin of supermassive black holes,” states Kazuyuki Omukai, a teacher at Tohoku University.

This result was released as Chon and Omukai “Supermassive star formation via super competitive accretion in slightly metal-enriched clouds” in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in May 2020.

NAOJ Supercomputer ATERUI II Cray XC50

NAOJ supercomputer ATERUI II (Cray XC50) ran at NAOJ Mizusawa Campus (Oshu, Iwate) with a theoretical peak efficiency of 3.087 Pflops. Credit: NAOJ

This research study made use of the NAOJ supercomputer ATERUI II (Cray XC50) for the simulation of enormous star development. ATERUI II is run at NAOJ Mizusawa Campus (Oshu, Iwate) with a theoretical peak efficiency of 3.087 Pflops.

Reference: ” Supermassive star development through very competitive accretion in somewhat metal-enriched clouds” by Sunmyon Chon and Kazuyuki Omukai, 4 April 2020, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa863