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Finding direct-collapse black holes at birth

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Direct-collapse black holes (DCBHs) are currently one of the leading contenders for the origins of the first quasars in the universe, over 300 of which have now been found at z > 6. But the birth of a DCBH in an atomically-cooling halo does not by itself guarantee it will become a quasar by ∼ 7, the halo must also be located in cold accretion flows or later merge with a series of other gas-rich halos capable of fueling the BH's rapid growth. Here, we present near infrared luminosities for DCBHs born in cold accretion flows in which they are destined to grow to 109 M by z ∼ 7. Our observables, which are derived from cosmological simulations with radiation hydrodynamics with Enzo, reveal that DCBHs could be found by the James Webb Space Telescope at z ≲ 20 and strongly-lensed DCBHs might be found in future wide-field surveys by Euclid and the Wide-Field Infrared Space Telescope at z ≲ 15.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 16 Jun 2020


  • Whalen et al AAM

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