Unexpected discovery: A supermassive Black Hole is wandering in Space



Astronomers have discovered very unusual cases of supermassive black hole "wandering" through space.

Astronomers have discovered very unusual cases of supermassive black hole "wandering" through space.

Normally, supermassive black holes are like static motors at the centers of galaxies, sucking everything around them.  Astronomers previously believed that it is possible that supermassive black holes are actively moving, but it is difficult to gather evidence of that hypothesis - so far.

Unexpected discovery: A supermassive Black Hole is wandering in Space

The galaxy J0437 + 2456 is one such pair of black holes. / ph: Phys.org

The latest research on moving black holes, Dominic Pesce - an astronomer at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics - has teamed with scientists to observe 10 distant galaxies and supermassive black holes at the centers of each system for the past five years.

The Center for Astrophysics is a joint research project between the Harvard University Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

According to Dominic Pesce - it don't expect the vast majority of supermassive black holes to move; they usually sit around.  They are too heavy to make them move, just like kicking a bowling ball is much more difficult than kicking a regular ball.  In this case, the 'bowling ball' has a mass several million times the mass of our sun.  That will require a pretty strong kick.

Researchers compared the velocities of both galaxies and supermassive black holes during their observation campaign to find out if they are the same. They expect them to have the same velocity. If not, that means the black hole has been disturbed.

During observations, astronomers discovered that, while nine supermassive black holes stood still, one appeared to be moving.  It is 230 million light years away from Earth and can be found at the center of a galaxy known as J0437 + 2456.

This supermassive black hole is a massive black hole, with a mass 3 million times the mass of the sun.

The team used tracking equipment from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico before it collapsed and the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii to determine that supermassive black holes are indeed traveling at 177,000 km/h in the galaxy.

Scientists don't know why black hole move, but they've come up with two ideas. We may be observing the consequences of merging two supermassive black holes.  The result of such a merger could cause a newborn black hole to back up.

It is also possible that the black hole is a pair in the galaxy.  Scientists have had difficulty identifying clear examples of binary supermassive black holes.  What we can see in the galaxy J0437 + 2456 is one such pair of black holes.

According to astronomers, only future observations tell the story and reveal the reason behind the black hole's journey through space.

Unexpected discovery: A supermassive Black Hole is wandering in Space

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