Black hole discovered ‘wandering’ through space

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Japanese astronomers have confirmed their discovery of a “wandering” black hole, drifting through space rather than taking a star’s place in a solar system, as most black holes discovered until now do. reports citing to Sputnik typically, scientists are only able to find black holes in space when there's a planet or a star orbiting them. Black holes give off no electromagnetic radiation, of which all visible light consists — so black holes floating through space with no orbiting objects are considered next to impossible to find.

So imagine the surprise researchers with Keio University in Japan felt when they were studying molecular clouds surrounding a supernova remnant 10,000 light-years from Earth, and they discovered a black hole drifting through space, tethered to no orbiting objects.

The supernova remnant was SNR W44 in the Aquila Constellation. In December 2016, the Keio team was using the ASTE Telescope in Chile and the 45-m Radio Telescope at Nobeyama Radio Observatory to investigate the remnant to determine how much energy had transferred from it to the molecular cloud.

Part of the cloud was a highly compact, fast-moving section that the researchers nicknamed "The Bullet." This cloud, about two light-years across, was rocketing through the cloud at speeds in excess of 220,000 mph. The team wasn't sure why the cloud was moving so quickly, but something must have accelerated it to move that quickly.

There are two likely scenarios for what caused "The Bullet" to form. The first, the "explosion model", is that the enormous shell of gas expanding away from the supernova passed by a black hole, which sucked in some of the gas. As the gas was pulled in, it spaghettified and rubbed together, cause an enormous explosion that sent it firing out of the black hole's orbit and creating a dense, high-speed particle object.

2017.05.02 / 09:36
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