They detect a black hole escaping at high speed from its home galaxy

An international team of researchers has reported the discovery of a runaway supermassive black hole (SMBH, for its acronym in English), moving at high speed (about 1,660 kilometers per second). The colossal object drifts through interstellar space, forming stars in its wake.

After detecting a trace in the gas surrounding the dwarf galaxy RCP 28Scientists from institutions in the United States, Canada and Australia made the discovery by chance while observing this distant galaxy, located 7.5 billion light-years from Earth, through NASA’s Hubble Telescope .

Astronomers noticed a bright streak of light when observing RCP 28, providing the first evidence of the runaway supermassive black hole. It’s a intriguing and unique discoverywhich highlights the fact that there are “rogue black holes”.

Although the SMBH It is not visible in the intergalactic medium, its trace of star formation is. This brilliant beam of light had a trace of 200,000 yearsit’s twice the width of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

Forming new stars in its wake

The black hole’s drag is thought to occur as it compresses the gas surrounding the galaxy it is trying to escape from, actively forming new stars.

Illustrative image.

Astronomers estimate the weight of SMBH at 20 million times the mass of the Sun.

On the other hand, the researchers consider that the newly discovered black hole is currently moving away from its home galaxy at about 5.6 million km/h, or about 4,000 times the speed of sound. What’s more intriguing is that the line leading from the runaway black hole leads directly to the center of the small galaxy.

What would be the origin of the ‘leak’ from the black hole

Astronomers have considered a possible mechanism that would allow a black hole to escape from the center of a galaxy. First, a galaxy merger must occur. Subsequently, a binary SMBH will form at the center of the galactic junction remnant.

Finally, experts believe that the black hole was ejected from its galaxy due to the intrusion of a third black hole into a binary system, which caused one of the cosmic entities to be ejected outwards.

Five-step diagram showing two black holes in a binary association before a third black hole steps in, upsetting the balance at the center of the galaxy and sending one of the black holes into intergalactic space. Panel 6 shows the gas trail observed in the new study. Credit: Van Dokkum et al.

So far, astronomers are unsure of the frequency of these runaway black holes. Perhaps as more of the universe is observed, evidence of other black holes like this will be found.

You might also be interested in: They capture a strange detachment on the Sun that baffles scientists.

The research, led by astrophysicist Pieter van Dokkum from Yale University, has been accepted into The Astrophysical Journal Letters and is available on the preprint server arXiv.

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