Science & Tech

A huge black hole is speeding through its galaxy giving birth to baby stars

A huge black hole is speeding through its galaxy giving birth to baby stars
2 Merging Supermassive Black Holes Spotted In Early Universe

There’s still so much we’ve yet to learn about black holes, but the latest notable discovery is changing attitudes towards them in the scientific community.

Normally, we think of black holes as huge celestial objects with gravity strong enough to pull light from the universe. However, the latest one being observed is having exactly the opposite effect.

A "runaway" supermassive black hole has been spotted travelling at four million miles per hour away from its galaxy.

Rather than hoovering up light around it, the object is thought to be actively producing new baby stars.

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A trail of newborn stars has now been detected in its wake, stretching an incredible 200,000 light-years in length.

As ever with black holes, the reason for this unusual activity isn’t exactly clear. However, the findings were reported in the Astrophysical Journal Letters by a team led by Yale astronomy professor Pieter van Dokkum.

The findings were also observed in NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, with Dokkum’s research suggesting that when the black hole comes into contact with gas it sparks new stars into life as the gas cools down.

“What we’re seeing is the aftermath," Dokkum said. "Like the wake behind a ship, we’re seeing the wake behind the black hole.”

Black holes continue to fascinate the scientific community, and the latest news comes just days after the recent discovery of the two closest black holes to Earth.

The celestial bodies were captured by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia satellite which is currently creating a detailed map of all the stars in the Milky Way.

They are located 1,560 light-years and 3,800 light-years away which, given that our galaxy measures 105,000 light-years side to side, means they’re positively on our doorstep.

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