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An Out-of-Control Supermassive Black Hole is Speeding Through Space

An artist's illustration of a Black Hole Merger. Depositphotos.

Astronomers believe they have discovered an out-of-control black hole, zooming through space as it interacts with interstellar matter.

Black holes are some of the most enigmatic and curious objects we have discovered in our journey to understanding the universe we live in. There are some weird cosmic phenomena like dark matter and FRBs that come close when it comes to the most mysterious things we have come across, but Black Holes are certainly the biggest, fascinating cosmic mystery out there. Now, astronomers have discovered evidence of an “out-of-control” supermassive black hole that is zooming through deep space.

An out-of-control Black Hole

Astrophysicists have recently found evidence of what they believe is a supermassive, out-of-control black hole that is zooming through space and interacting with the interstellar medium. The data that led to their discovery was found in one of the images of the Hubble Space Telescope, which shows a massive linear feature in deep space which could be a trail that resulted from the movement of the black hole. The research paper detailing the discovery is currently available in the pre-print server arXiv and has still not been peer-reviewed.

The thing about supermassive black holes

The thing about supermassive black holes is that astronomers usually don’t expect them to be rebellious, zooming through space like crazy cosmic outcasts. Normally, and based on what we currently understand about supermassive Black Holes, these cosmic monsters usually remain at the center of galaxies. However, in the research paper, the authors explain how a supermassive black hole could end up expelled from its host galaxy, becoming a supermassive cosmic wanderer.

The start and end of supermassive black holes?

According to Universe Today, tit stars during the galactic merger. This process eventually leads to the formation of supermassive black holes, and they position themselves at the heart of the merger remnant. Essentially, it is a play of numbers. The researchers explain that the binary supermassive black hole can live a billion years before it merges. But, if during this long time, a third supermassive black hole gets too close for comfort reaching the galactic center, this interaction can boost one of the supermassive black holes, causing it to become expelled from the merging galaxy.

One such event likely expelled the supposed black hole zooming through space. There are a few ways astronomers can identify a “runaway” supermassive black hole. The easiest way is if the black hole is munching on surrounding material and produces luminosity which scientists can then identify. However, as revealed in their study, scientists write that there are a couple of ways to identify an escaped SMBH. The easiest way is if the hole is actively absorbing material like an active galactic nucleus and can be identified by its luminosity. “For such objects,” the authors write, “the presence of an SMBH is not in doubt, but it may be difficult to determine whether they are ‘naked’ black holes or the nuclei of merging galaxies.”

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