Saturday, February 12, 2011
While the Kepler Exoplanets data have been hogging the Astronomy headlines of late, I wish to speculate (question) about a lesser known recent find, that being that the first stars formed in a much clumpier arrangement than previously expected and/or predicted and/or thought.
No, that wasn't the speculation, that's the Astronomical fact, and I'm not going to speculate as to the "Why?"
My speculation, to be revealed in a couple of paragraphs, has to do with what that actually means, what came after.
Which came first, the black holes in the centers of galaxies, or the galaxies themselves with their black holes forming later?
It would seem to me that given this new information, that the black holes formed first. The reason being that the first stars were drawn together to that by-far greatest of gravity wells, those wells being each other. Where else would they go?
Did they form little proto-galaxies first, thus proving me wrong? Perhaps, but unlikely I think. "The urge to merge" was likely much stronger then than now, as the universe was smaller, so they were closer to each other (in each clump) than stars are today.
The merging may have happened so fast in fact that they formed ridiculously large black holes, and it wouldn't be long before the jets of particles and radiation started streaming from their poles. The jetted material would eventually fall back toward the black hole, but not exactly straight down, and would eventually settle down into the familiar disk formation similar to that we see in galaxies today, except cloudier, and would feed the black hole yet again.
The energy would be immense, and give birth to quasars, or "active galaxies". This period would last almost half the lifetime of the Universe, until 5-6 billion years ago when the quasars themselves would settle down into the more familiar spiral shaped galaxies we see today.
As the first of those galaxies settled down further, they would form that other type of galaxy that are the ellipticals. And I can think of nothing that would stop the old stars in those those ellipticals from falling together to make new quasars and start the process all over again.
Birth. Death. Rebirth. It may not happen to people, but The Universe is a strange yet wonderful place.