An unusual galaxy known as CR7 might be a home to a black hole that did not arise directly from a dead star, but instead from a massive cloud of gas. This occurrence could explain how some huge black holes were created by other galaxies a billion years or so after the Big Bang.

Photo : ESO/M. Kornmesser

The galaxy CR7 is not your typical galaxy. It emits more ultraviolet radiation as compared to other known galaxies that lived roughly 13 billion years ago. The gases found in CR7 also lack common elements such as carbon and oxygen. There is a hypothesis that the galaxy is conceiving first-generation stars.

Another idea?

That CR7 is home to a type of black hole that forms when interstellar gas collapses under the weight of itself without first forming a star.

Aaron Smith, a researcher from the University of Texas at Austin, and his colleagues suggest that the second hypothesis is more plausible. They developed computer simulations allowing them to explore how interstellar gas interacts with the harsh radiation from primordial stars or black holes. They found out that the light from young stars can't explain why a parcel of gas is moving away from CR7 at the speed of 580,000 kph. They reported that radiation from a superheated disk of debris swirling around a massive black hole can push the gas.

If CR7 really does harbor a black hole, it would be the first evidence that black holes may arise from gas clouds that have not yet formed into stars. Experts, including the astrophysicist David Sobral who discovered CR7, are still studying the galaxy and other similar objects in space.

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