Astronomers have spotted something really SPOOKY in the universe. Astronomers have recently detected a supermassive black hole ‘out of control’. It weighs 160 million solar masses and was ‘kicked’ from the center of a galaxy into outer space. It is located in an elliptical galaxy around 3.9 billion light years from earth.
By now we know that the universe has countless surprises for us.
Astronomers have found in the past that there are planets out there which are expelled from their Solar Systems by the gravity of other bodies—as if they were simple comets, and wander in solitude in the darkness of outer space.
On the outskirts of the galaxies, there are solitary stars that were likewise expelled and travel towards the “emptiness” of the cosmos.
However, there are things out there which are far more mysterious.
Much larger objects exist out there, objects that are usually ‘locked’ in the center of galaxies, subject to their gravity: black holes.
These objects can fuse and undergo violent transformations that make them “leap” into intergalactic space: they then become wandering black holes (not to be frightened, but it is not impossible for one of them to be expelled towards our Solar System, though extremely unlikely).
NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory has set its sights on what appears to be an object out of control: a supermassive black hole—labeled CXO J101527.2+625911—that weighs around 160 million solar masses. It is located at the moment, in an elliptical galaxy 3.9 billion light-years from Earth.
Using data obtained from Chandra, experts believe they’ve spotted a ‘recoiled’ black hole, in the terminology used by scientists, when two smaller supermassive black holes collided and merged to form an even larger one.
As noted by astronomy.com, supermassive black holes preferentially lie in the center of their host galaxy, where they don’t move much. When one is clearly offset from the center, then, it likely means something interesting is going on.
This epic cosmic collision is thought to have created gravitational waves, that were spread out with more power in one direction than the others.
It is believed that this process kicked the two merged black holes in the opposite direction of the stronger gravitational waves. This means that the kick most likely catapulted the black hole out of the galaxy. The strength of the ‘kick’ depends on how fast, and in what direction the two smaller black holes rotated before they merged.
Because of this, studying this and similar black holes is of great importance to scientists.
Furthermore, scientists note in the study that the galaxy of the so-called recoiling black hole shows evidence of disturbance in its outermost regions—an indication that suggests two galaxies merged in the recent past.
It is believed that supermassive black holes merge when their host galaxies merge, and this supports the notion that this is a recoiling black hole—now out of control.
In addition to that, scientists note that stars are born at a much higher rate in the galaxy—several hundred times the mass of our sun per yeas—which supports computer models that predict star formation rates and how these are enhanced by the merging of galaxies.
These observations have recently been published in arXiv and will be published in The Astrophysical Journal.
Source: A Potential Recoiling Supermassive Black Hole CXO J101527.2+625911
Reference: Chandra spots a recoiling black hole / Chandra X-ray Observatory / CXO J101527.2+625911: Astronomers Pursue Renegade Supermassive Black Hole