Gravitational waves may have delivered boot toward deep space
M. Chiaberge/STScI, JHU/ESA, NASA
A black hole weighing more than a billion suns appears to have gotten the boot toward the outer edges of its galaxy.
Data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories reveal a supermassive black hole zipping away from the center of its galaxy at a 7.5-million-kilometer-per-hour clip. It’s moving so quickly that it could leave the galaxy for good in 20 million years, says Marco Chiaberge of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
Only gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of spacetime — could give the black hole such a kick, Chiaberge and colleagues report March 30 in Astronomy & Astrophysics. Hints of huge black holes ejected from a galactic center have been reported before (SN: 5/24/08, p. 12). This discovery offers