Black Hole May Be Expelled from Galaxy

UTRECHT, Netherlands, May 12 (UPI) — Scientists from the Netherlands and international colleagues say X-ray data may document a black hole being hurled from its parent galaxy.

The international team says its analysis is one possible interpretation of information gathered by the U.S. Chandra space X-ray observatory, the BBC reported Wednesday. Other explanations are possible, they say in an article published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Each galaxy usually contains a super-massive black hole at its center equivalent to 1 billion suns, possibly resulting when two smaller black holes merge, the scientists say. Supercomputer simulations suggest such mergers could send the resulting larger black hole away at high speed.

However, this depends on the direction and velocity at which the two smaller black holes are rotating before they collide, the scientists say.

Marianne Heida of the Netherlands’ University of Utrecht checked hundreds of thousands of sources of X-rays against the positions of millions of galaxies.

In one galaxy, Heida noticed the point of light was offset from the center but was so bright it could be associated with a super-massive black hole.

“We have found many more objects in this strange class of X-ray sources,” the BBC quoted Heida as saying. “With Chandra we should be able to make the accurate measurements we need to pinpoint them more precisely and identify their nature.”

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