Monday, August 23, 2021

Black hole disappears in a cluster of galaxies

 If there were any intergalactic police team, the alert to be issued would be something like “Giant black hole wanted!”. That's because, according to NASA, one of them appears to have “disappeared” from the Abel 2261 cluster of galaxies, located about 2.7 billion light-years from Earth. 

Almost all galaxies in the universe have supermassive black holes at their center. In fact, it is estimated that the more massive the galaxy, the larger the black hole. 

The Milky Way, for example, is about four millon times the mass of the Sun. But by looking at the region where Abel 2261 is located (using NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope), astronomers at West Virginia University were unable to locate it — one of the largest ever recorded. — that should be there. Black Hole Scheduled to be in the Abel 2261 galaxy cluster, black hole was not found during observations. 

How did the black hole disappear? The “disappearance” was a reason for surprise for the scientists, who raised several possibilities to try to explain what happened. The first would be that it was ejected by its host galaxy (also known as a “recoiling black hole”) as a result of a merger of two galaxies.

 This merger would create an even more massive galaxy and, consequently, cause the combination of two giant and supermassive black holes at the center of the resulting megagalaxy. Other possibilities presented by a group led by Sarah Burke-Spolaor of West Virginia University are more straightforward: either there isn't a black hole there, or it isn't active enough to produce enough X-rays to be detected by the Observatory . However, none of these explanations have been nailed down and scientists should use NASA's James Webb Space Telescope for further observations. For now, Abel 2261 remains "disappeared".

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