Kicked out of its home galaxy by a gravitational rocket, a supermassive black hole roams intergalactic space, a solitary glutton seeking a fresh supply of gas and stars for its next meal.
That may sound like science fiction, but researchers say they now have the first observational hint that black holes weighing millions to billions of times as much as the sun really can be ejected from the galaxies in which they formed.
If confirmed, the finding would have far-reaching implications for understanding galaxy formation. Mounting evidence suggests not only that every large galaxy houses a supermassive black hole at its core, but that a galaxy’s central hub of stars grows in lockstep with the mass of the black hole. Now it appears that some galaxies may be deprived of the monsters that somehow regulated their growth.
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