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Detecting direct collapse black holes: making the case for CR7

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Bhaskar Agarwal
  • Jarrett L. Johnson
  • Erik Zackrisson
  • Ivo Labbe
  • Frank C. van den Bosch
  • Priyamvada Natarajan
  • Sadegh Khochfar

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4003-4010
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2016


We propose that one of the sources in the recently detected system CR7 by Sobral et al. through spectrophotometric measurements at z = 6.6 harbours a direct collapse black hole (DCBH). We argue that the LW radiation field required for direct collapse in source A is provided by sources B and C. By tracing the LW production history and star formation rate over cosmic time for the halo hosting CR7 in a ΛCDM universe, we demonstrate that a DCBH could have formed at z ˜ 20. The spectrum of source A is well fit by nebular emission from primordial gas around a BH with MBH ˜4.4 × 106 M⊙ accreting at a 40 per cent of the Eddington rate, which strongly supports our interpretation of the data. Combining these lines of evidence, we argue that CR7 might well be the first DCBH candidate.

    Research areas

  • galaxies: high-redshift, quasars: supermassive black holes, dark ages, reionization, first stars

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