Supermassive black hole at center of distant galaxy has gone missing
Experts have been left astonished after a supermassive black hole which was thought to be in the middle of a distant galaxy has gone missing.
The bright cluster galaxy A2261-BCG appears to have lost its black hole and some scientists think it could now be floating through space.
This would be the first ever example of a “recoiling” black hole.
It means a powerful force in the galaxy may have ejected the supermassive black hole and sent it somewhere far away.
The mystery space event was spotted by researchers from a few universities in North America.
Almost every galaxy in the Universe is thought to have a giant black hole at its centre, including our galaxy which is the Milky Way.
A team lead by Dr Kayhan Gultekin from the University of Michigan has published a study about recoiling black holes the American Astronomical Society journal.
Dr Gultekin had been studying galaxy A2261-BCG when he noticed the signs that the black hole was missing.
He told Motherboard: “I was very skeptical and thought we would see something at the very center. But that turned out not to be the case.”
The team have also considered that the black hole could still be hiding somewhere in the galaxy that is hard to detect.
The force powerful enough to eject a black hole could be two supermassive black holes colliding together.
Supermassive blackholes have never been observed merging so finding evidence of this would be groundbreaking.
The scientists how Nasa and the Europeans Space Agency will focus more research on this galactic mystery.