Skip to comments.Giant black hole kicked out of home galaxy
Posted on 06/04/2012 11:22:44 AM PDT by Red Badger
Astronomers have found strong evidence that a massive black hole is being ejected from its host galaxy at a speed of several million miles per hour. New observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest that the black hole collided and merged with another black hole and received a powerful recoil kick from gravitational wave radiation.
"It's hard to believe that a supermassive black hole weighing millions of times the mass of the sun could be moved at all, let alone kicked out of a galaxy at enormous speed," said Francesca Civano of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), who led the new study. "But these new data support the idea that gravitational waves -- ripples in the fabric of space first predicted by Albert Einstein but never detected directly -- can exert an extremely powerful force."
Although the ejection of a supermassive black hole from a galaxy by recoil because more gravitational waves are being emitted in one direction than another is likely to be rare, it nevertheless could mean that there are many giant black holes roaming undetected out in the vast spaces between galaxies.
"These black holes would be invisible to us," said co-author Laura Blecha, also of CfA, "because they have consumed all of the gas surrounding them after being thrown out of their home galaxy."
Civano and her group have been studying a system known as CID-42, located in the middle of a galaxy about 4 billion light years away. They had previously spotted two distinct, compact sources of optical light in CID-42, using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
More optical data from the ground-based Magellan and Very Large Telescopes in Chile supplied a spectrum (that is, the distribution of optical light with energy) that suggested the two sources in CID-42 are moving apart at a speed of at least 3 million miles per hour.
Previous Chandra observations detected a bright X-ray source likely caused by super-heated material around one or more supermassive black holes. However, they could not distinguish whether the X-rays came from one or both of the optical sources because Chandra was not pointed directly at CID-42, giving an X-ray source that was less sharp than usual.
"The previous data told us that there was something special going on, but we couldn't tell if there were two black holes or just one," said another co-author Martin Elvis, also of CfA. "We needed new X-ray data to separate the sources."
When Chandra's sharp High Resolution Camera was pointed directly at CID-42, the resulting data showed that X-rays were coming only from one of the sources. The team thinks that when two galaxies collided, the supermassive black holes in the center of each galaxy also collided. The two black holes then merged to form a single black hole that recoiled from gravitational waves produced by the collision, which gave the newly merged black hole a sufficiently large kick for it to eventually escape from the galaxy. The other optical source is thought to be the bright star cluster that was left behind. This picture is consistent with recent computer simulations of merging black holes, which show that merged black holes can receive powerful kicks from the emission of gravitational waves.
There are two other possible explanations for what is happening in CID-42. One would involve an encounter between three supermassive black holes, resulting in the lightest one being ejected. Another idea is that CID-42 contains two supermassive black holes spiraling toward one another, rather than one moving quickly away.
Both of these alternate explanations would require at least one of the supermassive black holes to be very obscured, since only one bright X-ray source is observed. Thus the Chandra data support the idea of a black hole recoiling because of gravitational waves.
The source is located in the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) field, a large, multi-wavelength survey.
These results will appear in the June 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
Chandra and other telescopes have shown that the galaxy CID-42 likely contains a massive black hole being ejected at several million miles per hour. The main panel is a wide-field optical image of CID-42 and the area around it. The outlined box represents the more localized view of CID-42 that is shown in the three separate boxes on the right-hand side of the graphic. An image from Chandra (top box) shows that the X-ray emission is concentrated in a single source, corresponding to one of the two sources seen in deep observations by Hubble (middle box). The precise Chandra data helps astronomers narrow their ideas about what is happening in this galaxy, supporting the ejected black hole theory. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Civano et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Optical (wide field): CFHT, NASA/STScI
I know one in the White House that need to be kicked out!
New ‘LAWS’ of science:
We cannot see a ‘black hole’.
We can ‘see’ a ‘black hole’ being kicked out of it’s ‘home’ galaxy by another ‘black hole’ (and it’s really, really ‘bright’).
Energy and matter cannot be created nor destroyed.
Energy and matter simply ‘disappear’ into a black hole.
However, one a black hole is kicked out of a galaxy, it will likely “evaporate”.
“...according to the quantum mechanical uncertainty principle, rotating black holes should create and emit particles. Hawking radiation reduces the mass and the energy of the black hole and is therefore also known as black hole evaporation.
“Because of this, black holes that lose more mass than they gain through other means are expected to shrink and ultimately vanish. Micro black holes (MBHs) are predicted to be larger net emitters of radiation than larger black holes and should shrink and dissipate faster.”
Amerrica has its own Black Hole. It's called the Federal Government in Washington DC. Things that go there are never seen again.
That one is a black ho', not "hole". Easy to be confused.
I’m betting this theory gets revised and reversed, as to who is kicking whom out of the nest.
It rather depends on your point of reference, and I’m betting on the higher density, more massive body, imparting the energy necessary to achieve separation from the lower density, dispersed system.
“Giant Black Hole.....”
Uhhh,can you say this......?
I thought this was a story about Obama....never mind.
This could be series, some should contact the Doctor, Who will know what to do.
We cannot see a black hole."
A black hole, in and of itself, only absorbs radiation. It can be "seen" if it passes in front of a light source like a galaxy or bright nebula.
"We can see a black hole being kicked out of its home galaxy by another black hole (and its really, really bright)."
This article isn't discussing actually "seeing" the black hole, but instead the radiation emitted from gas excited as it is compressed and heated by gravity near the black hole event horizon. One point made in the article is that black holes in intergalactic space (extremely little gas) would be unobservable except for the point I made first- passing in front of a light source.
"Energy and matter cannot be created nor destroyed."
Energy and matter simply disappear into a black hole."
Incorrect. The mass of the black hole will increase whenever either energy or mass is absorbed, as determined by E=mc2. There is an interesting issue as to whether or not certain quantum "information" (spin, for instance) is lost when matter enters a black hole. Charge is conserved, as black holes may be charged.
Black Hole goes Galt?..............
George W. Nebula’s fault!
So, there are millions of homeless black holes wandering aimlessly around the universe holding up signs that say, “WILL WORK FOR MASS” ?.............
God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
The rate of Hawking radiation emission (same as ideal black body radiation) is thought to be inversely proportionate to mass according to:
Therefore a million solar mass black hole would be observed at a temperature of about 0.00000000000006 deg K, and would be gaining net mass from both cosmic background radiation at 2.7 K, plus any starshine or other infalling mass source.
In the extremely distant future, if the expanding universe theory is correct, the cosmic background radiation might go low enough to cause a net mass loss...but we're talking trillions of years plus. Even then the rate of evaporation would be very slow.
Bear in mind that the radius of that million solar mass black hole's event horizon is about three million kilometers, so there's not really that much surface area to radiate from - that's only about four times larger than the Sun.
Glad to see that!
Gives us a little wiggle room.