First Direct Visual Evidence of Runaway Supermassive Black Hole Discovered
Astronomers have made a stunning reveal – the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole ever discovered. Through the use of the NASA Hubble telescope, an image of the distant blob, X7, circling our Milky Way's supermassive black hole has been captured, leading to speculation that this could be the first runaway supermassive black hole ever seen.
Black holes on their own are invisible, but the trail of stars and gas they leave behind as they travel is visible. This is why astronomers were able to determine that the object in the image is likely a runaway supermassive black hole, as it appears to be leaving a trail of newborn stars and shocked gas in its wake.
This particular black hole may have generated a shock wave that made a trail of new stars, which is visible in the image. The trail of stars leaving the galaxy and narrowing to a point on the lower left indicates a runaway supermassive black hole, and further observations will be necessary to confirm this theory.
The most likely theory as to why this black hole has gone rogue is that two galaxies merged, and their supermassive black holes fell together due to their sheer gravitational pull. As the galaxies merged, the black hole was forced out and began its journey, leaving a trail of stars and gas behind it.
What is particularly interesting about this runaway black hole is that it appears to be creating stars, rather than just destroying them. This has led to speculation that the black hole isn't only destroying everything in its path, but is also producing stars. This discovery could help astronomers learn more about what happens to black holes when galaxies collide.
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1. “A runaway black hole has been spotted fleeing a distant galaxy” Science News Magazine, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/runaway-black-hole-galaxy-hubble
2. “Hubble May Have Spotted a Supermassive Black Hole Breaking Free From Its Galaxy” Futurism, 10 Mar. 2023, https://futurism.com/rogue-supermassive-black-hole-broke-free