Using NASA's Hubble Telescope, Astronomers have detected a supermassive black hole being evicted from the central hub of its parent galaxy in what could be a demonstration of the immense force of gravitational waves.
Scientists have suspected there are several black holes elsewhere kicked out of their galactic core and the recent discovery is considered a very strong case confirming what they assumed all the while.
The black hole, which weighs more than 1 billion suns, is the first supermassive black hole found to have been evicted from its home.
Immense Amount Of Energy
To propel a black hole as massive as this one from its galactic core requires an immense amount of energy.
It is estimated that the energy required is equivalent to the energy of 100 supernovas exploding at the same time, study co-author Stefano Bianchi of Roma Tre University said.
Stefano said their theoretical model suggested that the gravitational waves generated by the fusion of two black holes some 1 to 2 billion years ago, propelled this massive black hole spaceward.
The rogue black hole was found to have moved 35,000 light-years away from the central hub of its parent galaxy 3C 186. This distance is farther than the Sun's distance from the center of the Milky Way.
The researchers said this super massive black hole continues to hurtle away at a speed of 7.5 million kilometers per hour.
Gravitational waves, first put forward by Albert Einstein, are ripples created when two massive objects bumped in space. These ripples are similar to the waves created when a stone is dropped into a pond.
Its existence was only proven last year when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected them having their origin from the merging of two massive black holes.
All Point To One Thing
"When I first saw this, I thought we were seeing something very peculiar," team leader Marco Chiaberge of the Space Telescope Science Institute said of the observed black hole.
Since black holes are located at the core of their galaxies, Chiaberge said he was surprised to see a quasar off from the galaxy's central hub. Quasars are the visible and energetic signature of black holes.
He said the combined data from different observation sites revealed the same stellar event.
Chiaberge's paper on the phenomenon will be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics on March 30.