Astronomers sight wandering huge black hole, but at a safe distance

This artist rendering provided by NASA shows a star being swallowed by a black hole, and emitting an X-ray flare, shown in red, in the process.   | Photo Credit: AP

Astronomers have spotted a supermassive black hole (SMBH) moving on its own. That is, the SMBH is moving with a velocity different from that of its surrounding galaxy.

This is surprising because supermassive black holes usually are not expected to move with respect to the galaxies in whose centres they reside, according to what is known about them so far. Supermassive black holes have masses millions of times the solar mass and inhabit the centres of galaxies. The one at the centre of the Milky Way is named Sagittarius A*.

Located at the centre of a galaxy named J0437+2456, this supermassive black hole, with a mass about three million times that of our Sun, is moving at a high speed. Viewing it from the safe distance of 230 million light years, the astronomers say in the paper published in The Astrophysical Journal, that this fact makes it seem as though the supermassive black hole has been disturbed. The reason for this is unknown, though there are guesses.

Watch | All about black holes

One of the possibilities is that this SMBH has just been created from the collision of two SMBHs, because in such cases the newborn black hole suffers a recoil, which might be what is being observed here. The other possibility is that this black hole may be a part of a binary black hole system – which have not been observed so far.

Further observations are needed to pinpoint the reason for the movement of the supermassive blackhole.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 2:50:18 PM |

Next Story