There are two supermassive black holes in the OJ 287 galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astrophysicists Uncover Black Holes Zooming at Remarkable Speeds

Certain black holes might be soaring through the cosmos at nearly 10% the speed of light. Now that's what I call cosmic speeding!


New simulations out of the Rochester Institute of Technology indicate that some black holes might be darting across space at speeds nearing a tenth of light’s pace.

Astrophysicists James Healy and Carlos Lousto have made a groundbreaking discovery. Using intensive supercomputer simulations, the duo found that certain black holes might be soaring through the cosmos at nearly 10% the speed of light. Their study, now published in Physical Review Letters, digs deep into the potential aftermath of two colliding black holes.

The Recoil of Cosmic Mergers

Historical data reveals that two black holes can indeed collide. These cosmic crashes not only result in a fusion but also create gravitational waves. It’s the consequent recoil, akin to a gun’s kickback, that can catapult the newly formed black hole across space with immense velocity. Previous studies estimated their top speeds to be around 5,000 km/sec. However, Healy and Lousto endeavored to delve deeper.

Scientists reveal previously unknown features of black holes


Diving into the Math of Mergers

Armed with mathematical simulations, the researchers scrutinized the speed outcomes post-merger. They particularly focused on the angle of approach between the colliding black holes. Before the actual merger, barring a direct face-to-face crash, the two giants usually engage in a cosmic dance, circling each other.

In their meticulous simulation, the astrophysicists examined a whopping 1,300 potential angles of approach, spanning from direct impacts to near misses.


Record-Breaking Black Hole Velocities

The results were astonishing. In the optimal scenario, where two black holes just graze each other, the recoil could thrust the fused black hole into space at a jaw-dropping 28,500 kilometers per second. That’s so fast; it could cover the distance from Earth to the Moon in a mere 13 seconds.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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