There, somewhere in space, there may be a passing black hole that is no longer at the center of its galaxy. In a journal published by the American Astronomical Society, scientists have noticed that the supermassive black hole, believed to be the center of Abell 2261, may no longer be there. Instead, scientists say it could have been removed from its own galaxy due to a process known as the gravitational wave recoil.
During recoil, two black holes close together merge substantially, sending ripples into space. In theory, these waves could repel the black hole from its current location, according to a report submitted by Forbes. “That’s enough to completely throw the black hole out of the galaxy and leave a long time ago. It would be a cruise in intergalactic space, “Kaihan Gultekin, the newspaper̵
In the piece, the publishers of the original magazine make sure that technically they can still be in its current location; they just can’t find it now that they’ve been able to find it on previous occasions.
“Still, Gultekin says it’s too early to conclude that there is no supermassive black hole in the A2261-BCG,” Forbes adds. “But if it’s not there, it will be the only galaxy so large that has still been discovered without such a massive black hole at its center. Even the supermassive black hole on our Milky Way is relatively calm, but it’s there.”
In an interview with Deputy Last summer, Gultekin acknowledged that there was still much to learn about black holes, and solving this mystery could do much to answer some of the biggest unanswered questions.
“What excites me the most is to learn about supermassive black holes through gravitational waves,” Gultekin said. “We need to know for sure that they are merging, and that will be one way to show that this is happening.”
“There are all sorts of things you can learn with gravitational waves about supermassive black holes, such as populations or individual sources that are either really difficult or impossible to learn with traditional electromagnetic astronomy,” he added.
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