What happened to all the black holes that were around in the early universe?
Recent information from the Chandra X-Ray telescope indicates that the early universe was teeming with black holes. If the early universe was full of black holes, then where are those black holes now? Do they still exist?
They still exist - they just might not be as active today as they were in earlier times. When we try to detect black holes through x-rays (as Chandra does) we are not really detecting the black hole itself, but rather we are seeing material that falls into the black hole heat up and emit radiation before it passes through the event horizon.
If a black hole is not accreting any material, then it won't emit x-rays. So I don't think the Chandra results mean there were more black holes in the early universe, just that they were more active then and emitted more x-rays.
We think we can detect plenty of black holes in the recent universe as well, both by their x-ray and radio emission and by their gravitational effect on the motion of nearby objects.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 24839 times since September 17, 2002.
Last modified: October 22, 2002 9:54:09 AM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)