Unseen Progenitors of Luminous High-z Quasars in the R h = ct Universe

Marco Fatuzzo, Fulvio Melia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Quasars at high redshift provide direct information on the mass growth of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) and, in turn, yield important clues about how the universe evolved since the first (Pop III) stars started forming. Yet even basic questions regarding the seeds of these objects and their growth mechanism remain unanswered. The anticipated launch of eROSITA and ATHENA is expected to facilitate observations of high-redshift quasars needed to resolve these issues. In this paper, we compare accretion-based SMBH growth in the concordance ΛCDM model with that in the alternative Friedmann-Robertson-Walker cosmology known as the R h = ct universe. Previous work has shown that the timeline predicted by the latter can account for the origin and growth of the ;109 M o highest redshift quasars better than that of the standard model. Here, we significantly advance this comparison by determining the soft X-ray flux that would be observed for Eddington-limited accretion growth as a function of redshift in both cosmologies. Our results indicate that a clear difference emerges between the two in terms of the number of detectable quasars at redshift z ; 7, raising the expectation that the next decade will provide the observational data needed to discriminate between these two models based on the number of detected high-redshift quasar progenitors. For example, while the upcoming ATHENA mission is expected to detect ∼0.16 (i.e., essentially zero) quasars at z ∼ 7 in R h = ct, it should detect ∼160 in ΛCDM - a quantitatively compelling difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number129
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2017


  • cosmological parameters
  • cosmology: observations
  • cosmology: theory
  • gravitation
  • quasars: supermassive black holes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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