The characteristic black hole mass resulting from direct collapse in the early Universe

M. A. Latif, D. R.G. Schleicher, W. Schmidt, J. C. Niemeyer

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129 Citations (Scopus)


Black holes of a billion solar masses are observed in the infant Universe a few hundred million years after the big bang. The direct collapse of protogalactic gas clouds in primordial haloes with Tvir = 104 K provides the most promising way to assemble massive black holes. In this study, we aim to determine the characteristic mass scale of seed black holes and the time evolution of the accretion rates resulting from the direct collapse model. We explore the formation of supermassive black holes via cosmological large eddy simulations (LES) by employing sink particles and following their evolution for 20 000 yr after the formation of the first sink. As the resulting protostars were shown to have cool atmospheres in the presence of strong accretion, we assume here that UV feedback is negligible during this calculation. We confirm this result in a comparison run without sinks. Our findings show that black hole seeds with characteristic mass of 105Modot are formed in the presence of strong Lyman-Werner flux which leads to an isothermal collapse. The characteristic mass is about two times higher in LES compared to the implicit large eddy simulations. The accretion rates increase with time and reach a maximum value of 10Modot yr-1 after 104 yr. Our results show that the direct collapse model is clearly feasible as it provides the expected mass of the seed black holes

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2989-2996
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Formation - cosmology
  • Methods
  • Numerical - galaxies
  • Theory - early Universe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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