Supermassive Black Hole Is Hurled Out Of Galaxy

A Hubble Space Telescope image of the galaxy studied by Marianne Heida. The white circle marks the centre of the galaxy and the red circle marks the position of the suspected offset black hole. Image: STScI / NASA

A Hubble Space Telescope image of the galaxy studied by Marianne Heida. The white circle marks the centre of the galaxy and the red circle marks the position of the suspected offset black hole. Image: STScI / NASA

This is shock and awe. Report from BBC News:

A supermassive black hole may have been observed in the process of being hurled from its parent galaxy at high speed.

The finding comes from analysis of data collected by the US Chandra space X-ray observatory. However, there are alternative explanations for the observation.

The work, by an international team of astronomers, has been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Normally, each galaxy contains a supermassive black hole at its centre. Given that these objects can have masses equivalent to one billion Suns, it takes a special set of conditions to cause this to happen.

High-speed exit

The authors believe this could be the result of the merger of two smaller black holes. But there are alternative explanations for the bright X-ray source; it could also be a Type IIn supernova, or an ultra-luminous X-ray source (ULX) with an optical counterpart (which could represent several phenomena).

Simulations using supercomputers suggest that when this happens, the larger black hole that results is shot away at high speed…

[continues at BBC News]

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  • Anonymous

    I hope it isn’t headed our way. Yikes!

  • Anonymous_Reader

    I hope it isn’t headed our way. Yikes!

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