It is thought a similar process occurred for the earliest supermassive black holes residing in the middle of primordial galaxies, generating the vast powerhouses that characterized our early Universe. Therefore, the study of microquasars is very important to understand their supermassive cousins. However, as they are smaller, these tiny quasars fluctuate in energy - suggestive of changes in black hole "feeding rate" - something of great fascination for astrophysicists.
"This is, we think, the same mechanism at work in quasars at the cores of galaxies, where the black holes are millions of times more massive. However, in the smaller systems, things happen much more rapidly, giving us more data to help understand the physics at work," said Matthew Middleton, of the University of Durham in the UK and the Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, leader of the research team.
"Understanding how these things work is important, because we think quasars played a big role in redistributing matter and energy when the Universe was very young," he added.