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Let’s be clear – black holes are monstrously powerful. They can swallow and decimate large cosmic entities, sending them to the uncharted darkness on the other side. Now, scientists have found pilot evidence that suggests merger events between black holes could be comparable to a giant football kick… for the cosmos.
In fact, the kick from black hole mergers is powerful enough to expel a black hole from its home galaxy. Researchers from the Albert Einstein Institute in Germany observed the merger event called GW200129 to find that the a black hole created in a merger was sent hurtling through space at extremely fast speeds, touching 4.8 million kilometres per hour. That’s 3 million miles per hour!
The cosmic kick
The “surprising and shocking” discovery is more proof that we ought to keep two black holes away from each other. In a merger event, an even bigger black hole is left behind. While this giant swallower of cosmic goodies is being birthed, it can trigger a kick, the study’s lead author, Vijay Varma told Space.com.
Over time, the gravitational radiation of two black holes shrinks their orbit, leading to a collision and merger of black holes. In this case, the merger was lopsided, causing the kick. In scientific terms, there was asymmetry in the emission of gravitational waves from the black holes. This caused the kick.
Black holes are considered key drivers of evolution in galaxies. By studying gravitational radiation, scientists could get a better idea of how galaxies develop over time.
Even though evidence lines up to suggest that the black hole was booted from its original environment, the team still can’t be completely sure. But judging by the extremely fast speed at which the black hole was moving when observations were made, this is the most probable explanation.
Lea, R. (2022, May 30). A black hole formed by a lopsided merger may have gone rogue. Space.Com.
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