The black hole may have arisen from an unusual interaction of intergalactic masses with a mass equivalent to 20 million times the mass of the Sun | Photo: Freepik
Astronomers in the United States report that a supermassive black hole is hurtling through space, leaving a trail of newborn stars 200,000 light-years wide.
The giant monster, which may have been born from an unusual interaction of intergalactic masses and has a mass 20 million times greater than that of the Sun, weaves its way through the darkness and gas clouds it encounters along the way. Enormous forces are turning this gas into a string of new stars, captured by the cameras of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
“We think what we’re seeing is a trace behind the black hole where gas cools and is capable of forming stars,” explained Peter van Dokkum, an expert at Yale University.
According to the researchers, the gas is likely to be expelled and heated by the motion of the black hole. “The gas in front is being discharged due to the supersonic impact and the high speed of the black hole moving through this gas,” Ducum said.
Scientists believe that he began his journey after he was expelled from the list of celestial bodies. The theory applied is that two galaxies may have merged 50 million years ago and joined two giant black holes, orbiting harmoniously around each other.
However, a third galaxy collided with them into a black hole of its own, creating an unstable and chaotic trio that eventually ejected one of them at speeds up to the speed of travel between Earth and the Moon in 14 minutes.
Astronomers say there is nothing to worry about on Earth, because the event happened so far and long ago, when the universe was half its current age. It’s visible now because of the time it took for the light to get here.
Duqm explained that the runaway black hole, which had never been seen before, was discovered by chance. “I was scanning the Hubble image and noticed a slight scratch,” he said. “It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.” The Star Trail is “so amazing, so bright and extraordinary”.
This is the first black hole seen for a stellar trail, but according to NASA, it is not necessarily the only one. The Nancy Grace Romanian Space Telescope, due to launch this decade, is supposed to give astronomers a broader view of the universe, and could lead to the discovery of more events like this one. (With information from AFP)
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