Massive Black Holes Grew Very Fast

According to new study the universe‘s first supermassive black holes grew so fast by gobbling up a steady stream of cold gas. Researchers have long wondered what fueled the rapid growth of these huge black holes, which were already monsters shortly after the first galaxies came together. Di Matteo and her colleagues wanted to solve this puzzle. So they used supercomputers to perform a large-scale cosmological simulation that re-created the first billion years after the Big Bang. Normally, when cold gas flows toward a black hole, it collides with other gas in the surrounding galaxy, causing it to heat up before entering the black hole. This process, caused shock heating, puts the brakes on black hole growth somewhat.

But the team’s simulations suggested that early supermassive black holes encountered no such check on their growth. According to researchers rather, streams of cold gas were likely channeled straight into their gullets along the filaments that give structure to the universe, causing the black holes to grow faster than anything in the early universe.