Supermassive black holes are thought to lurk at the centers of most, if not all, galaxies. For example, our Milky Way has a supermassive black hole 4 million times the mass of the Sun. Meanwhile, the M87 – the only black hole ever directly photographed by us – is 2.4 billion times larger than the Sun.
However, these black holes are still significantly smaller than super black holes thought to be located at the center of a galaxy in the Abell 2261 cluster, 2.7 billion light years from Earth. According to calculations, this supermassive black hole has a mass 3 to 100 billion times as large as the Sun.
Worth mentioning, this “monster” is still evading the detection of telescopes from the Earth.
2.7 billion light-years from Earth, this is the Abell 2261 galaxy cluster, with a supermassive black hole at the center of this cluster.
Specifically, the researchers searched for X-rays emitted from the center of the cluster Abell 2261 using data collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in 1999 and 2004. Basically, X-rays are a potential indication of a black hole: When matter falls into a black hole, it accelerates and heats a lot, emitting lots of high-energy X-ray light. However, the search failed as researchers were unable to find traces of this ‘monster’ black hole.
Most recently, another search has been launched. Scientists are focused on finding more closely the X-rays in this galaxy using data collected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2018.
However, this search was not concentrated in the galaxy’s center. Instead, the scientists also considered the possibility that this monster black hole is located outside the edge of the central region of Abell 2261. Specifically, the scientists have suggested that the mysterious black hole could be moved away from the central area after the two galaxies merged.
When black holes and other high-mass objects collide, they create ripples in space-time called gravitational waves. If the waves emit asymmetric in all directions, they could push the supermassive black hole away from the center of the newly fused galaxy, scientists say.
The central region of the galaxy cluster Abell 2261 under different waves
Remarkably, such ‘recoil’ black holes have so far been purely hypothetical. Scientists have yet to find evidence of the existence of such black holes.
“We don’t know if supermassive black holes are even close enough together to generate gravitational waves and fuse; so far, astronomers have only found evidence of fusion of holes. the black is much smaller, “NASA said.
“The discovery of” recoil “supermassive black holes will encourage scientists to use and develop observatories to find gravitational waves from fusing supermassive black holes, they added. .
The galaxy at the center of the Abell 2261 cluster is a good place to hunt for such a black hole, the researchers say, as it carries some indication of a merger between the two galaxies.
For example, observations of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Subaru Telescope on the ground show that the core region of this galaxy, which has the highest stellar density, is much larger than galaxies of the same size. like it. And the densest array of stars is about 2,000 light-years from the galactic center. This is “strangely far away,” NASA said.
Scientists have suggested that the mysterious black hole may have moved away from the galactic center after the two galaxies merged.
In the new study, a team led by Kayhan Gultekin from the University of Michigan found that the densest concentration of hot gas is not in the center of this galaxy. But the Chandra telescope data found any important sources of X-rays in the galaxy core region or in larger clusters of stars. Therefore, the mystery of the missing supermassive black hole still has no specific answer. However, that mystery can be solved by the “successor” of the Hubble telescope – NASA’s powerful James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch into orbit in October 2021.
If the James Webb telescope did not detect a black hole in the galaxy or in one of its larger clusters of stars, “the best explanation is that the black hole has receded from the center of the galaxy”, researchers at NASA write.
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