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Space News Science

Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy 167

DarkKnightRadick writes "An undergrad student at the University of Utrecht, Marianne Heida, has found evidence of a supermassive black hole being tossed out of its galaxy. According to the article, the black hole — which has a mass equivalent to one billion suns — is possibly the culmination of two galaxies merging (or colliding, depending on how you like to look at it) and their black holes merging, creating one supermassive beast. The black hole was found using the Chandra Source Catalog (from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory). The direction of the expulsion is also possibly indicative of the direction of rotation of the two black holes as they circled each other before merging."
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Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy

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  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @08:37PM (#32188360)

    The accretion disk could account for the X-rays. The reason they were looking for X-rays in the first place was to spot normal black holes.

    Right... and accretion disks are created from the material falling into the black hole. If the black hole is heading into intergalactic space and NOT "dragging a fair amount of material with it", where is that material coming from?

  • by SoapBox17 ( 1020345 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @09:44PM (#32188752) Homepage
    If you did manage to tear a "rift" in the "side" of a star, nothing would really happen. The inside of the star is also the center of gravity of the star. The plasma doesn't want to escape, it is being pulled always towards the center of mass of the star. Your rift would pretty much instantly disappear as the gravity of the star continues to pull on the material around it, the star will pretty quickly turn spherical again.

    The only way to destroy a star would be to completely scatter all of its material out over an extremely wide area. Keep in mind, solar systems and their stars are formed by giant disks of dust slowingly being pulled together by their own gravity until they form stellar bodies. So to permanently get rid of the star, you'd have to spread it out over an area larger than it's solar system, or it would just re-form again eventually.
  • Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Burz ( 138833 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @10:44PM (#32189062) Homepage Journal

    Any object that could tear a hole in a main-sequence star like the sun would probably be a compact star of some sort. See this summary of a Scientific American story from 2002:

    When Stars Collide; The Secret Lives of Stars; Special Editions; by Michael Shara; 8 Page(s)

    Of all the ways for life on Earth to end, the collision of the sun and another star might well be the most dramatic. If the incoming projectile were a white dwarf--a superdense star that packs the mass of the sun into a body a hundredth the size--the residents of Earth would be treated to quite a fireworks show. The white dwarf would penetrate the sun at hypersonic speed, over 600 kilometers a second, setting up a massive shock wave that would compress and heat the entire sun above thermonuclear ignition temperatures.

    It would take only an hour for the white dwarf to smash through, but the damage would be irreversible. The superheated sun would release as much fusion energy in that hour as it normally does in 100 million years. The buildup of pressure would force gas outward at speeds far above escape velocity. Within a few hours the sun would have blown itself apart. Meanwhile the agent of this catastrophe, the white dwarf, would continue blithely on its way--not that we would be around to care about the injustice of it all.

    I had read that original story and I recall they described a number of star-star impact scenarios (including black holes with main sequence stars).

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted AT slashdot DOT org> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:14AM (#32191628)

    Boring? You call it boring when the whole sky gets twisted into a tiny little dot while you get pulled to a mile-long thin strand?

    Either it’s your imagination that is boring, or your sex is very very kinky. ;)

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.