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Astronomers have found huge 'runaway black hole' which is as wide as 20 million suns
Featured Image Credit: Andrey Volodin / Alamy Stock Photo/Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Astronomers have found huge 'runaway black hole' which is as wide as 20 million suns


As if things weren't bad enough right now, there's apparently a 'runaway black hole' hurtling through space.

Yep, scientists think they may have spotted a giant ball of abyss bouncing around space after seemingly being jettisoned by its galaxy. If so, this is what it might sound like:

According to research published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters journal, the team were observing the dwarf galaxy RCP 28 on the Hubble Space Telescope when they made the ‘serendipitous discovery’.

Intrigued by what they saw, they delved further into the data and estimated it was about 20 million times the mass of the Sun. Gulp.

Scientists believe they've spotted a huge black hole hurtling through space.

As well as that, they worked out the black hole was whizzing around at 3.5 million mph (5.6 million km/h).

Now, numbers like that don't really mean much for our tiny human brains, but it works out at around 4.500 times the speed of sound. So yeah, the big guy is pretty light on his feet.

For the uninitiated, black holes are invisible to the naked eye and can only be detected by hi-tech telescopes, such as the Hubble.

According to Nasa: "A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space."

The team believe it is a black hole at the end of the thread.
Pieter van Dokkum

Pieter van Dokkum is a professor of physics and astronomy at Yale University, and the lead author of the study.

Speaking to Live Science about the discovery, he said: "We found a thin line in a Hubble image that is pointing to the centre of a galaxy.

"Using the Keck telescope in Hawaii, we found that the line and the galaxy are connected.

"From a detailed analysis of the feature, we inferred that we are seeing a very massive black hole that was ejected from the galaxy, leaving a trail of gas and newly formed stars in its wake."

More research is needed to confirm the discovery.
Pieter van Dokkum

Supermassive black holes such as this are pretty common for most larger galaxies, and emit huge threads of matter out into space, called 'astrophysical jets'.

However, while these jets tend to grow smaller and weaker the further out they get, the threads van Dokkum and his team spotted were getting stronger.

As a result, they knew they were most likely seeing something pretty special.

"If confirmed, it would be the first time that we have clear evidence that supermassive black holes can escape from galaxies," van Dokkum added.

The team of researchers will need to carry out further studies to determine once and for all whether or not this is a black hole.

Topics: Science, Technology, NASA