Scientists have just spotted something truly astonishing in a galaxy billions of light years away, and they're mystified at how it happened.
Something strange has just been found in deep space, and scientists at NASA are trying to come up with an explanation for it. Supermassive black holes are always at the center of galaxies, as all of the stars in that galaxy revolve around it, but scientists have spotted a supermassive black hole 35,000 light years from the center of its galaxy 8 billion light years from Earth.
It appears that galaxy 3C186 is somehow expelling its own supermassive black hole, even though that would seem to be impossible, since it would take something like 100 million supernovae exploding simultaneously to do that. Nevertheless, scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope has confirmed that this black hole, which is the size of 1 billion solar masses, is leaving the galaxy at a pace of 4.7 million miles per hour.
One possible explanation is that two galaxies merged, and the two central supermassive black holes smashed into one other, sending one of them blasting outward. Whatever the case, it’s certainly a fascinating object for study that could help us learn a lot more about how galaxies, and the black holes at the center of them, work.
The statement from Hubble’s website reads: “The images taken by Hubble provided the first clue that the galaxy, named 3C186, was unusual. 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. … 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.”
“If our theory is correct, the observations provide strong evidence that supermassive black holes can actually merge,” explains Stefano Bianchi on the importance of the discovery. “There is already evidence of black hole collisions for stellar-mass black holes, but the process regulating supermassive black holes is more complex and not yet completely understood.”