- Astronomers discover two new galaxies and a blackhole moving at thousands of miles per hours.
- The two galaxies collided millions of years ago. The smaller galaxy was consumed by the bigger one.
- The blackhole will eventually lose mass and will form thousands of new stars.
Astronomers have found the remains of a galaxy that passed through a larger galaxy.
The event happened millions of years ago. The smaller galaxy passed through the larger one. At that time the smaller galaxy was stripped of all its stars and gas.
The smaller galaxy now exists as a “nearly naked” supermassive black hole and a small galactic remnant approximately 3000 light-years across. A supermassive black hole is the largest type of black hole, in the order of hundreds of thousands to billions of solar masses, and is found in the centre of almost all currently known massive galaxies.
The new supermassive black hole is speeding away at more than 2000 miles a second.
The two galaxies are part of a galaxy-cluster that is more than 2 billion light years from Earth.
Large galaxies are created by these moments. A large galaxy consumes a smaller one. The galaxy grows. And the blackholes merge together. “We found this black hole fleeing from the larger galaxy and leaving a trail of debris behind it,” said James Condon, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. “We’ve not seen anything like this before.”
Blackholes usually exist at the centre of galaxies. But this blackhole was floating off by itself. This meant that the blackhole was created by two galaxies colliding. The blackhole is zooming away from a large galaxy, leaving a trail of ionised gas in its wake.
Scientists predict that the speeding blackhole will lose mass and eventually form new stars.
“In a billion years or so, it probably will be invisible,” Condon said. That means there could be many more such objects left over from earlier galactic encounters that astronomers can’t detect.