Skip to main content

The formation and evolution of massive black holes

Final Report Summary - BLACK (The formation and evolution of massive black holes)

BLACK has the goal of studying the formation, feeding and feedback of massive black holes, weighing from a few tens of thousands to billions of solar masses, and inhabiting the centers of today’s galaxies, including our own Milky Way. Massive black holes also power active galactic nuclei and quasars known to exist just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.
In BLACK we have modeled massive black hole formation, taking place in the very first galaxies in the early Universe, and then followed the growth of these initial seeds though accretion of gas and mergers with other massive black holes. We have further studied how the energy produced in the active phases, when the black holes are growing by swallowing gas, modulates the rate at which the black hole can grow.
We have used a variety of different techniques and simulations on different scales from idealized, but physically rich, simulations to cosmological simulations, more realistic in terms of environment, but lacking the high resolution that can be obtained in idealized cases. Bridging between different scales with different approaches allowed us to develop a comprehensive view of how black holes are shaped by their environment and how in turn galaxy evolution shapes black hole growth.