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What Came First, Black Holes Or Galaxies?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the it's-the-one-that-respresents-the-chicken dept.

Space 76

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "It was one of the most hotly contested questions for decades: we first expected and then found supermassive black holes at the centers of practically all large galaxies. But how did they get there? In particular, you could imagine it happening either way: either there was this top-down scenario, where large-scale structures formed first and fragmented into galaxies, forming black holes at their centers afterwards, or a bottom-up scenario, where small-scale structures dominate at the beginning, and larger ones only form later from the merger of these earlier, little ones. As it turns out, both of these play a role in our Universe, but as far as the question of what came first, black holes or galaxies, only one answer is right."

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Duh! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387297)

Chuck Norris

Re:Duh! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387353)

Chuck Norris came first twice!

Re:Duh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387555)

Chuck Norris came 0th. Not first.

Re:Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388445)

If we're going to be pedantic, Vin Diesel came before Norris.

Re:Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388609)

No one wants to see your gay porno fantasies.

Re:Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47391025)

He's just saying that Vin Diesel is more of a man than Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris is actually kind of a pussy, not to mention a religious whack-job.

Re: Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47394473)

Back to reddit troll.

First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387305)

I came first

if (-1, Offtopic)

idanity (591710) | about 4 months ago | (#47387307)

if a black hole came first, nothing would escape it. so, the black holes are 2nd.

Re:if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387477)

you are clearly no expert in gravitational physics or astrophysics.

Re:if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388711)

neither is dr. neil degrasse tyson, but he has a popular science show

Re:if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47391033)

Except for the part where he is an astrophysicist.

Re:if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395549)

Totally. Aside from the PhD in astrophysics from Columbia, he hardly knows any astrophysics.

Answer (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387335)

So the best answer we have is that the seeds of supermassive black holes and the seeds of galaxies were what formed first, and they did so at approximately the same time. But these black holes began as quite large structures, growing to at least many thousands of solar masses before the environments in which they were housed could ever be considered galaxies, and so it appears that black holes came first, but they form in regions that will merge-and-grow into large, rich galaxies in very short order.

The article has a pretty in-depth explanation (from what my layman's eyes can see) though.

Re:Answer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387649)

The gravity waves of the central black hole cause differences of distribution in the surrounding gas, leading to start formation.

Re:Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388077)

A black hole by itself doesn't emit gravity waves, as you need a quadrupole moment to produce gravity waves (not dipole like EM waves). This requires orbiting of large bodies (e.g. two black holes), and the orbiting of infalling material and radiated heat will make a large impact on gas distribution near by anyway.

Bah (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387337)

medium.com unreadable fluff. Please find a better website to spam. Not all of us have tablets, you know.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387643)

And what kind of summary is that? Imagine if a news headline said "Mass murder in a major american city. Which city is it? Only one answer is right. Click here to find out."

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388591)

Imagine if a news headline said "Mass murder in a major American city. Which city is it? Only one answer is right. Click here to find out."

No need to imagine it, the web is filled with examples like that. It's just like news teasers during TV programs that ask a question then tell you to "tune in at 11". I refuse to tune in at 11, and I refuse to click on headlines that are questions. 99% of the time there is no intellectual reward for doing so, only a reminder of how "journalism" is another word for selling a product.

Speaking of why Medium.com sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388083)

Speaking of why Medium.com sucks...

Why do stories on sites like Medium.com scroll so badly? Jerky, screen tearing...who would want this?

Personally, I avoid sites like this. It is a trivial matter to type some of the article text into Google and find a different web site.

But back to my question...Is it because of the mega large graphics/background? Can I just block that in some way? In Opera?

To form supermassive blackholes (0)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 4 months ago | (#47387339)

There need to be supermassive stars . Like this one which is 265 solar masses ! . Chandrashekars limit tells us that a star will collapse into a black hole at >= 5 solar masses . I somehow always imagined supermassive giants collapsing into black holes and galaxies forming around them . The question is is ther only one supermassive star in a galaxy ? or per galaxy? . What if another massive star in a galaxy goes supernova and collapses. will it disturb the gravitational balance?

Re:To form supermassive blackholes (2)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 4 months ago | (#47387343)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org] -- 265 solar masses

Re:To form supermassive blackholes (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 4 months ago | (#47387523)

Well, you replied to yourself with that link. If you'd read the page you'd notice the link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org] which is a galaxy with several supermassive stars.

Re:To form supermassive blackholes (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387529)

To form supermassive blackholes There need to be supermassive stars

Non sequitur. A supermassive black hole can form by the merger of smaller black holes, normal stars, interstellar gas, even dark matter. The only snag is that these things need to get close to each other, because - contrary to popular belief - black holes don't "suck".

Re:To form supermassive blackholes (3)

Almost-Retired (637760) | about 4 months ago | (#47391023)

Not in the short haul because the mass that creates the gravity well usually stays within that galaxy. Long haul, as in several trillion years, the two black holes will orbit as before when they both were just stars, but the gravitational waves they emit is a loss of system energy and they will slowly spiral into each other until they merge. But that may take longer for most of them than the universe is old. We are actively looking for the gravity wave that would indicate two such black holes have merged as it will have a distinct waveform.

Cheers, Gene

Re:To form supermassive blackholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47391553)

But that may take longer for most of them than the universe is old.

Depends on the mass and distance a lot though, as the lifetime of an orbit between two equal masses is proportional to r^4/m^3 (or r^4/m1/m2/(m1+m2) for different masses). Something like the Sun and Earth work out to 10^23 years, but two sun mass objects over the same distance drops that down to 10^17 years. Something like two million solar mass black holes a few light days apart drops that down to a couple million years. Especially in the dense volume near the center of the galaxy, distances more than a few light hours will decay from interactions with other near by stars without gravity waves anyway.

Chicken (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387365)

Chicken, chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken—chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken
chicken. Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken. Chicken, chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken, chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken “chicken” chicken chicken (p.p., chicken chicken, chicken chicken!)

Can't even post scientific literature on Slashdot.

Because Republicans believe in neither... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387423)

Neither! That is the way of their kind. They don't believe in science so they don't think black holes and galaxies exist.

Re:Because Republicans believe in neither... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387713)

And Anonymous Coward trolls are the worse kind of troll. Moron.

Uuh, wrong question (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 4 months ago | (#47387457)

I read somewhere that the heavens and the Earth came first.

Re:Uuh, wrong question (1)

Livius (318358) | about 4 months ago | (#47387895)

What do you think the heavens are made of? Obviously all the parts of the heavens came first.

Re:Uuh, wrong question (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#47390761)

The multi-verse. From chaos, every thing, every where, every when, life enforced a singular time line, some thing, some where, some when because you can never have nothing, no where, no when. Although not to be fooled, time as such doesn't exist, it is just a life based relative measure of change.

Re:Uuh, wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388583)

That was a metaphor.

Re:Uuh, wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47394117)

I read somewhere that the heavens and the Earth came first.

No you didn't. Read it again.

Neither... (1, Insightful)

bayankaran (446245) | about 4 months ago | (#47387493)

Not black holes, nor galaxies, but da chicken came first.

Re:Neither... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388547)

EGG!

Re:Neither... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388605)

According to the theory of evolution, egg-laying creatures existed before chickens did, therefore, the egg came first.

Re:Neither... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390399)

Yes, but some generation the egg-laying proto-chickens had to become chickens in one generation. So you have this creature (no chicken) laying an egg, from which a chicken hatches after some time. Now the question is whether you call the egg a chicken egg (as there is a chicken inside) or you call it a creature egg (as the creature laid it). If you call it chicken egg, egg came first, if you call it creature egg, chicken.

You should note that we call eggs that chicken lay but which aren't fertile (no insemination) still chicken eggs, knowing there is no chicken embryo inside. So I think that chicken came first.

Galactholes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387551)

Galactholes came first (aka blackaxies). My uncle told me.

The Resonance Project (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47387615)

According to the work of Nassim Haramein and the Resonance Project, Black Holes came first and is best described as a metastable 3D torus, not a destructive 2D/3D singularity. [facebook.com]

There's also a bunch of geometry and fractal stuff there that essentially unifies micro- and macro cosmos, as well as quantifying gravity and the mass of a proton.

Of course, this will all be dismissed out of hand because most people are closed-minded, and when this is rediscovered, someone else and "science" or "medicine" will take all the credit. The real source is really sacred geometry from the Vedas and other ancient knowledge.

The important question is How (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#47387835)

So how did the supermassive black holes get formed?

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388101)

The thing that people seem to be forgetting here is that blackholes is a theory and not an observable fact such as gallaxies.

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388163)

If go by colloquial definition, we know for a fact that there are "black holes". By the scientific definition, we are not sure; They may be grey holes.

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389141)

Calling indirect evidence 'fact' is a misnomer. There are many other theories about what is at the center of galaxies but for whatever reason, black hole theory seems to be the popular one in this age even though all of them are no more or less valid than the next one.

Re: The important question is How (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47390039)

Black holes are at least consistent with general relativity which is heavily tested in other regimes, and do not require assumption of other exotic materials and processes that lack other related observations. Direct observation of the stars moving through the area show whatever is there has a mass of millions times that of the Sun, but must be smaller than Saturn's orbit (otherwise the passing stars would have hit it). Other radio, x-ray, and gamma ray observations are consistent with a black hole accretion disk and structure of someone thing yet even smaller than that. The only vanilla physics based alternatives are that we were really lucky to see something right before it became a black hole, because despite the billions of years the galaxy has been around, we caught it when stuff was falling together that would take a tiny fraction of that to form a black hole anyway. Otherwise, even more esoteric proposals involve theories without other observations. To treat those all as equal is the same as saying, "it could just a likely be there are a lot of angels there pushing on things harder."

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47391055)

You've got it backwards my friend. Black holes is exactly what's wrong with general relativity which many are actively trying to correct including Mr. Hawking.

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47391099)

In other words you're completely misinterpreting the reasoning behind these theories. In order to correct the problem you have to know exactly what it is you're dealing with. Black hole theory is nothing more than a description of the problem.

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47391549)

No, black holes are a very specific prediction that derives directly from general relativity. It is not some place holder name for observations we don't understand, but a specific theoretical prediction. Either the observations are black holes or not, and in the latter case it means that either GR is wrong or there is some reason it is not applicable.

Why do ACs think they're smarter than Einstein? (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | about 3 months ago | (#47409001)

What brought out the cranks today?

Anyone who can claim that General Relativity is wrong has not understood it. It is incomplete, but it is not wrong, and certainly not to the point where black holes would be 'disallowed'. We're pretty good so far at determining what fundamental forces operate in the universe, and there simply is no property of matter which would prevent it from reaching the densities required for black hole formation. We have observed extremely massive dense objects far exceeding that threshold. Whether or not singularities exist in some sort of real way is another question. The internal structure of black holes is also fairly academic. That black holes exist is, as has been said, a direct consequence of General Relativity, which has been shown to be an extremely accurate description of the geometry of the universe, at all scales we have been able to observe, from the sub-atomic to the intergalactic. In order for black holes (or a phenomenon with identical properties) not to exist, you have to both explain the observation of these dense, massive objects, and simultaneously describe why objects cannot be that dense, or more precisely why spacetime cannot be curved such that it forms an event horizon.

ACs: if you do not have a working knowledge of relativity then please don't trouble yourselves to respond to this comment. Your theory has to have greater explanatory power if you want to replace relativity, and if you don't know what it says, well, you're not likely to have a useful opinion on the matter.

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388269)

They're more closer to fact than a Christians God.

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389415)

and vice versa...

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47393811)

...not that the words of imbecile Christians carry any weight.

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388317)

Read up on Hawkings radiation. A prediction was made that would show if a black hole existed, they looked for that radiation where they suspected black holes existed and found it.

Not sure if that gives it 100% proof they exist, but its a much bigger step to proving them then existed before.

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389389)

Something that closley resembles Hawking Radiation was found back in 2010 and continues to be under heavy debate.

Regardless, Hawking radiation is an incomplete theory in which it poses many problems: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140127-black-hole-stephen-hawking-firewall-space-astronomy/

Re: The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389957)

Hawking radiation would not be observable for any stellar sized or larger black hole. The emission rate is inversely proportional to the mass squared. And a black hole the same mass as the Sun would emit ~10^-28 W total, spread out in all directions. A very large black hole would emit even less.

Direct observation would be possible using long baseline interferometry which is done in the microwave range of the spectrum, and is the bases behind the Event Horizon Telescope [wikipedia.org] that may get results in the next decade. The imaging of the accretion disk around the black hole would give information on the size of the event horizon and rotation due to how it is easier for light to wrap around in the direction of rotation than against it.

Re:The important question is How (1)

stonedead (2571785) | about 4 months ago | (#47388569)

This. Observed black holes have so far been either 1) Stellar - tens or may be hundreds of solar mass or 2) Supermassive - millions to billions of solar mass. We haven't seen anything in between. So with the data at hand, the question is: Are Supermassive are formed from big bang or they are "formed" as they pull heavenly bodies towards them?

Re:The important question is How (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47394685)

Black holes are a misinterpretation of what is detected by the instruments. They are energetic events that tap the vacuum energies, and create matter, not suck it in. Everything around these objects is created by them, arranged by them, modified by them. The alternative science for their origin and functions is all in place, it is just not accepted by the present scientific elite.

what if (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 4 months ago | (#47387877)

But what if a galaxy formed, then after a few billion years collapsed entirely into the central black hole, which then caused a new galaxy,...
(leading vaguely to a Yo Dawg meme here)

Solar system (1)

Esra Erimez (3732785) | about 4 months ago | (#47387881)

Is this not too dissimilar to how we think the solar system started, the sun first and then the planets?

Both? (4, Interesting)

fygment (444210) | about 4 months ago | (#47387901)

Why is the answer always assumed to be binary? Both processes could have been occuring simultaneously.

Re:Both? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 4 months ago | (#47388465)

Why is the answer always assumed to be binary? Both processes could have been occuring simultaneously.

I am sure both were occuring simultaneously, the question is, which dominates? The two sets of processes have different time constants (growth rates), arising from different physics. For both to be more-or-less equally powerful requires these time constants to be more-or-less matched, and that seems improbable and fails "Occam's razor" type "tests."

So, could be, but don't expect that idea to gain traction, at least without a good theory as to why things should be that way.

Re:Both? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 4 months ago | (#47388551)

Of course, as the "With a Bang" article points out, if you are willing to wait and not have everything be simultaneous, you can have both large scale structure formation and small scale structure formation going on simultaneously, with the small scale going to completion earlier, and both together yielding what we see today.

Re:Both? (1)

mick129 (126225) | about 3 months ago | (#47410465)

From The Fascinating Article:

In other words, both the top-down and the bottom-up scenarios play a role, but the bottom-up, by virtue of starting smaller, gets a head start by millions of years!

The answer is not assumed to be binary.

Evading the question (1)

Livius (318358) | about 4 months ago | (#47388105)

Of course black holes.

Then galaxies.

But super-massive black holes - the interesting question - probably came last, although they avoided that aspect of the question.

SMB were a surprise (1)

mbone (558574) | about 4 months ago | (#47388399)

we first expected and then found supermassive black holes at the centers of practically all large galaxies.

"expected" is sure not how I remember it, and in fact I think this has the historical record backwards. Quasars were definitely a surprise, and the Super Massive Black hole (SMB) interpretation of quasars took a while (a decade at least) to catch on, and the consensus that most galaxies have a central SMB came after that, after some local galaxies (such as our own) showed signs of having a SMB too. Before all of this most astronomers weren't interested in black holes and even the small number of General Relativity types (such as Zeldovich) who were, and who were looking them, were looking for stellar mass sized black holes, not the SMB variety.

All in all, I think it would be more accurate to say that the SMB-galaxy connection was forced upon astronomers by the data, rather than that they expected it.

I didn't even check the link. (0)

Insomnium (1415023) | about 4 months ago | (#47388411)

Shitty article and the answer is simple.

SMB formation theory is uncertain (2)

mbone (558574) | about 4 months ago | (#47388775)

Having read the article, I think that "With a Bang" sort of waffled on this. It is hard to see [arxiv.org] how SuperMassive Black holes (SMB) form in the time available for them to form. (There is a large literature on this, but basically there are problems of the seeds - are the seeds Pop III stars, or something more exotic - and time - how can the mass move around enough to form SMB by z ~ 6?).

I don't really feel you can safely answer the "which came first" question until you know how the SMB actually formed.

A one hour video lecture, Supermassive Black Holes and the Problem of Galaxy Formation [youtube.com] , might be interesting to people interested in these problems, but it deals with the galaxy problem more than the SMB problem.

Re:SMB formation theory is uncertain (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 4 months ago | (#47389247)

Thanks for the link - haven't watched it yet.

I've always wondered if Galaxies and SMB are both effects from a common cause. We don't understand dark matter, and that is a HUGE gap when it comes to galaxy formation. If there is some kind of primordial force at work that created the large-scale structure of the universe then perhaps SMB are just an extreme manifestation of it. They didn't necessarily form from steller evolution. Maybe at some period in the past if not today there were huge gravitational gradients that just sucked gobs of matter into SMBs and arranged the larger area around it into galaxies. Those forces may no longer be active today, and they may very well have only been active for a short time to have a big impact on large-scale structures.

However, what I don't know is how something like this would affect the CMB/etc, and this sort of thing may have been completely disproven.

blackholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47388919)

Galaxies, because every blackhole that we've observed is at the center of some galaxy; we've never observed a blackhole just floating around in space. Although, I'd imagine that since blackholes are the result of super massive stars, they could come prior to galaxies if there where large enough stars.

Stupid question. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389737)

Clearly gallaxies came first since black holes are a theory and a failing one according to many others including Steven Hawking.

Re:Stupid question. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389929)

Hah! :-) That nails it! (I am the AC fom DUh2)

Duh2! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47389921)

Since Black Holes are non existing mathematical constructs (and from a bad math, which makes division by zero), and have nothing to do with reality, it is obvious galaxies did come first.

Exotic Matter (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about 4 months ago | (#47390767)

Blackholes have been here since day one. They are simply matter that came from our neighboring universes. They follow different quantum laws than the matter in our universe. Our universe is a stream and it is flowing in one direction. The big bang is only an allusion. If the Andromeda galaxy was moving away from us, we would see that the universe was shrinking instead of expanding.

If the black hole came first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47391417)

then wouldn't it have sucked in everything that tried to form around it, meaning no galaxy could form around it?

What came first? (1)

IsoQuantic (17626) | about 4 months ago | (#47393631)

God.

Perception and Vision-Cause and Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47401439)

Sub: Perception and Vision-Cause and Effect
The psychology of black-hole every where hides the truth. How can astronomy can catch-up with Cosmology Studies and Energy distribution?
The origins specify Cosmic function of the universe.Cause and Effect- visible-invisible matrix.Search Cosmology Vedas interlinks-

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