Hubble: Possible Runaway Black Hole Creating a Trail of Stars

Find out the latest thinking about our universe.
User avatar
Apathetic Retiree
Posts: 21579
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:06 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Hubble: Possible Runaway Black Hole Creating a Trail of Stars

Post by bystander » Fri Apr 07, 2023 7:46 am

Hubble Sees Possible Runaway Black Hole Creating a Trail of Stars
NASA | GSFC | STScI | HubbleSite | 2023 Apr 06
There's an invisible monster on the loose, barreling through intergalactic space so fast that if it were in our solar system, it could travel from Earth to the Moon in 14 minutes. This supermassive black hole, weighing as much as 20 million Suns, has left behind a never-before-seen 200,000-light-year-long "contrail" of newborn stars, twice the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy. It's likely the result of a rare, bizarre game of galactic billiards among three massive black holes.

Rather than gobbling up stars ahead of it, like a cosmic Pac-Man, the speedy black hole is plowing into gas in front of it to trigger new star formation along a narrow corridor. The black hole is streaking too fast to take time for a snack. Nothing like it has ever been seen before, but it was captured accidentally by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. ...

The black hole lies at one end of the column, which stretches back to its parent galaxy. There is a remarkably bright knot of ionized oxygen at the outermost tip of the column. Researchers believe gas is probably being shocked and heated from the motion of the black hole hitting the gas, or it could be radiation from an accretion disk around the black hole. ...

Hubble Photographs Stellar Trail of Runaway Black Hole
ESA Hubble | 2023 Apr 06

A Candidate Runaway Supermassive Black Hole Identified
by Shocks and Star Formation in its Wake
~ Pieter van Dokkum et al
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor