Belfast Telegraph

Irishman solves supermassive black holes mystery that has baffled scientists for years

By Luke Byrne

It's a dilemma that has perplexed astrophysicists for years. But now Irish researcher Dr John Regan believes he has explained the formulation of the first supermassive black holes in the universe.

Dr Regan, based at the School of Mathematical Sciences at Dublin City University, devised a formula for the phenomena.

When massive stars collapse they form black holes. In these instances the gravity becomes so overwhelming that atoms are crushed and a singularity forms. The region around this point is known as the black hole. Not even light can escape the black holes.

Supermassive black holes live at the centre of most large galaxies, including our own Milky Way. There have been various theories as to how these form, yet none have come up with a robust credible formulation - until now.

Dr Regan theorised that radiation from neighbouring galaxies acts as a catalyst for forming supermassive black hole 'seeds'.

He surmised that when proto-galaxies are nearby, the powerful radiation field of one proto-galaxy sterilises the other, thus disabling its ability to form stars.

The sterilised galaxy continues to grow in mass, quickly reaching a critical threshold beyond which the formation of a massive black hole is inevitable.

The findings were published in the prestigious global journal of Nature Astronomy.

Irish Independent