Scientists have witnessed something utterly bizarre in a galaxy 8 billion light years from our planet that they are having some difficulty explaining.
NASA scientists have spotted something bizarre deep in space, something that defies explanation and our understanding of galaxies: a supermassive black hole, 35,000 light years from the center of its galaxy and speeding away like some unseen force had ejected it with incredible power. Supermassive black holes are those huge objects at the center of galaxies, around which all the stars spin, so scientists were mystified to find a black hole somehow not at the center.
In fact, it’s leaving Galaxy 3C186, which is 8 billion light years from Earth, at a rate of 4.7 million miles per hour, even though scientists calculate it would take 100 million supernovae exploding simultaneously to send the black hole out of its own galaxy. However, observations via the Hubble Space Telescope confirm that this is indeed the case.
Scientists’ best answer for this strange phenomenon is that we may be witnessing the after effects of a merger between two galaxies. During this merger, the two central supermassive black holes would have collided with tremendous force, and we could be seeing the losing black hole being blasted into space. If so, it’s a remarkable finding that could help scientists better understand galaxies and their structure.
“The images taken by Hubble provided the first clue that the galaxy, named 3C186, was unusual,” the Hubble statement reads. “The images of the galaxy, located 8 billion light-years away, revealed a bright quasar, the energetic signature of an active black hole, located far from the galactic core. … The team calculated that the black hole has already travelled about 35 000 light-years from the centre, which is more than the distance between the Sun and the centre of the Milky Way. And it continues its flight at a speed of 7.5 million kilometres per hour. At this speed the black hole could travel from Earth to the Moon in three minutes.
“Although other scenarios to explain the observations cannot be excluded, the most plausible source of the propulsive energy is that this supermassive black hole was given a kick by gravitational waves unleashed by the merger of two massive black holes at the centre of its host galaxy. This theory is supported by arc-shaped tidal tails identified by the scientists, produced by a gravitational tug between two colliding galaxies.”