Although scientists have already been able to observe a black hole, a landmark for human history, these celestial bodies still intrigue the astronomical community as a whole. Numerous studies continue to be done, with the most recent looking at “close neighbors”, such as the singularity in the center of the Milky Way or even the supposed planet nine.
Now, a new study carried out by the National Institute of Astrophysics in Bologna, Italy, and led by astronomer Marco Mignoli has discovered an impressive structure, dating back to the early days of the universe. It is a supermassive black hole that has six galaxies intertwined in what appears to be a “spider web”. The system dates back 900 million years after the Big Bang, and is 300 times larger than our galaxy.
Two points observed brought more doubts than answers to astronomers. The first is how the black hole, which has a mass equivalent to a million times that of our Sun, became so massive in such a short time. The second is how these gas strands that join the galaxies and the black hole formed.
Scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) theorize that the monstrous mass was caused precisely by the gas filaments, which in turn would have formed due to the action of dark matter, another mystery of the universe. The gases would have been attracted to the black hole, thus forming the fascinating system observed by experts.
Representation of the “spider web” system of the observed black hole.
Unfortunately, the technology used today does not perform well enough to allow researchers to accurately observe the system in question. Given this, the team believes they have seen only “the tip of the iceberg”, and much more could be happening without us knowing it. The expectation is that the Extremely Large Telescope, successor to the Very Large Telescope used in the current study, will help in discovering more details after its construction in Chile has ended.