Astronomers on the Hunt for a Missing Supermassive Black Hole [Video]

Disc of Material Circling a Supermassive Black Hole

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Artist’s impression of  a disc of product circling around a supermassive great void. Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

The secret surrounding the location of a supermassive great void has actually deepened.

Despite browsing with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have no proof that a remote great void approximated to weigh in between 3 billion and one hundred billion times the mass of the Sun is anywhere to be discovered. This missing great void ought to remain in the huge galaxy in the center of the galaxy cluster Abell 2261, which lies about 2.7 billion light years from Earth.

Nearly all big galaxies consist of a supermassive great void, with a mass that is millions or billions of times that of the sun in their centers. Since the mass of a main great void typically tracks with the mass of the galaxy itself, astronomers anticipate the galaxy in the center of Abell 2261 consists of a supermassive great void that equals the heft of a few of the biggest recognized great voids in the Universe.

Such great voids are typically discovered in the centers of galaxies. Using Chandra information acquired in 1999 and 2004, astronomers had actually currently browsed the center of Abell 2261’s big main galaxy for indications of a supermassive great void. They tried to find product that has actually been superheated as it fell towards the great void and produced X-rays, however did not identify such a source.

In 2018, a group of researchers utilized Chandra to get brand-new, longer observations acquired in 2018 of Abell 2261. They likewise thought about an alternative description: what if the great void was ejected from the host galaxy’s center? During a merger of 2 galaxies, which likely took place in the past to form Abell 2261, the main great voids in each galaxy might have combined to form one huge great void. This violent occasion would have likewise produced a big quantity of gravitational waves. If the gravitational waves were more powerful in one instructions than another, theory anticipates that the brand-new, a lot more enormous great void would have been sent out careening far from the center of the galaxy in the opposite instructions. This is called a recoiling great void.

Astronomers have actually not discovered conclusive proof for recoiling great voids and they do not understand whether supermassive great voids even get close adequate to each other to produce gravitational waves and combine. The detection of recoiling supermassive great voids would push researchers utilizing and establishing observatories to identify gravitational waves from combining supermassive great voids.

The secret of this titanic-sized great void in Abell 2261 for that reason continues. Although this newest search was not successful, hope stays for astronomers searching for this supermassive great void in the future. Once the James Webb Space Telescope launches, astronomers ought to have the ability to utilize its abilities to accompany Chandra’s and others to take a look at Abell 2261 and others like it.

Read Deepening Astronomical Mystery: On the Hunt for a Missing Giant Black Hole for more on this research study.

Reference: “Chandra Observations of Abell 2261 Brightest Cluster Galaxy, a Candidate Host to a Recoiling Black Hole” by Kayhan Gültekin, Sarah Burke-Spolaor, Tod R. Lauer, T. Joseph W. Lazio, Leonidas A. Moustakas, Patrick Ogle and Marc Postman, 5 January 2021, The Astrophysical Journal.
DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/abc483