Scientists discover black hole racing through space – but can’t explain why


Black holes usually remain fairly static. “We don’t expect the majority of supermassive black holes to be moving; they’re usually content to just sit around,” Dominic Pesce, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, said.

“They’re just so heavy that it’s tough to get them going. Consider how much more difficult it is to kick a bowling ball into motion than it is to kick a soccer ball — realizing that in this case, the ‘bowling ball’ is several million times the mass of our Sun. That’s going to require a pretty mighty kick.”

This rare occurrence was found by comparing the speed and direction of supermassive black holes with their home galaxies. Scientists would expect the velocities of the black holes to match those of the galaxies, with any change in direction or speed being evidence of disruption.

Scientists examined 10 distant galaxies and their black holes, specifically looking at those with water in their accretion disks, which are spiral structures that spin towards the hole. As the water orbits the hole it produces a bean of radio light known as a maser.


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