Black Hole 'Hurled' From Galaxy

Object with the mass of a billion suns spotted moving at high speed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2010 8:04 AM CDT
Astronomers believe the object circled in red is a supermassive black hole being flung out of this galaxy half a billion light years away.   (Chandra X-Ray Observatory)

(Newser) – Astronomers believe they have spotted a supermassive black hole being flung out of its galaxy. Supermassive black holes—which have a mass roughly a billion times that of the sun—are usually found at the center of galaxies, but this one is traveling away from the core of its galaxy at 670,000 miles per hour, the BBC reports. The incredible force needed to propel the black hole probably comes from two black holes merging, astronomers say.

The phenomenon, spotted by a student using data from NASA's Chandra observatory to compare X-ray sources with the positions of millions of galaxies, has never been observed before. "We have found many more objects in this strange class of X-ray sources," the student says. "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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