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A runaway black hole has (maybe) been spotted fleeing a distant galaxy

Introversion

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A streak of light stretching away from a remote galaxy might be the first sure sign of a gargantuan black hole on the run, a new study reports. The putative black hole, fleeing its host galaxy, appears to be leaving a trail of newborn stars and shocked gas in its wake. If confirmed, the intergalactic escape could help astronomers learn more about what happens to black holes when galaxies collide.

“It’s a very cool, serendipitous discovery,” says astronomer Charlotte Angus of the University of Copenhagen, who was not involved in the new work. “The possibility that this might be due to a supermassive black hole that’s been ejected from its galaxy is very exciting. These events have been predicted by theory, but up until now, there’s been little evidence for them.”
 

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What a fun read! Thanks, Introversion. I was especially amused by the idea that when galaxies merge, and their central black holes also eventually merge, that event can give the resulting black hole a “kick,” sending it flying away at high speed.

Apropos of nothing: I was so devoted to the print version of Science News during the 1970s and 1980s, I paid to have my collected stacks of those thin little mags bound into volumes. I should go back and reread them all—that would be a hoot.
 
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