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First Moving Supermassive Black Hole Discovered

First Moving Supermassive Black Hole:

Scientists have discovered the first moving supermassive black hole whose mass is about three million times that of our Sun.

  • The black hole was traveling within its own galaxy (J0437+2456) which is around 228 million light-years away from Earth.
  • Scientists studied 10 faraway galaxies with supermassive black holes in the centre, expecting them to have the same velocity as that of the galaxies they reside in.
  • The focus of their study was the water in the accretion disk (the spiralling mass around a supermassive black hole made of matter that is eventually ingested by the black hole).
  • As the water circles around the black hole before falling into it like a liquid in a sink, it produces a laser-like beam of radio light known as a maser. These masers can tell the velocity of black holes very accurately.

About the Moving Supermassive Black Hole:

  • Of the 10 black holes they studied, only the one at the center of J0437+2456 was unusual. It was not moving at the same velocity as its home galaxy.
  • Besides the empirical evidence, the enormous size of these black holes had led people to imagine them to be stationary objects planted in the middle of galaxies as opposed to objects floating around in space.
  • It is moving at a speed of about 1,10,000 miles per hour inside its galaxy.

Black Hole:

  • It refers to a point in space where the matter is so compressed as to create a gravity field from which even light cannot escape.
  • The concept was theorized by Albert Einstein in 1915 and the term ‘black hole’ was coined in the mid-1960s by American physicist John Archibald Wheeler.