Radio power from a direct-collapse black hole in CR7

Daniel J. Whalen, Mar Mezcua, Avery Meiksin, Tilman Hartwig, Muhammad A. Latif

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The leading contenders for the seeds of the first quasars are direct collapse black holes (DCBHs) formed during catastrophic baryon collapse in atomically-cooled halos at z ∼ 20. The discovery of the Lyα emitter CR7 at z = 6.6 was initially held to be the first detection of a DCBH, although this interpretation has since been challenged on the grounds of Spitzer IRAC and Very Large Telescope X-Shooter data. Here we determine if radio flux from a DCBH in CR7 could be detected and discriminated from competing sources of radio emission in the halo such as young supernovae and H II regions. We find that a DCBH would emit a flux of 10 - 200 nJy at 1.0 GHz, far greater than the sub-nJy signal expected for young supernovae but on par with continuum emission from star-forming regions. However, radio emission from a DCBH in CR7 could be distinguished from free-free emission from H II regions by its spectral evolution with frequency and could be detected by the Square Kilometer Array in the coming decade.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL45
Number of pages4
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2020


  • astro-ph.GA
  • astro-ph.CO
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/P000509/1
  • ST/R000972/1
  • quasars: supermassive black holes
  • black hole physics
  • early universe
  • dark ages, reionization, first stars
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: high-redshift


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