Clips, Space, Video

Massive Black Holes Lurk In Our Galaxy

Digital Journal, May 1, 2009.

New computer simulations have confirmed the existence of a large number of gigantic black holes in our home galaxy, the Milky Way, left over from the time of its birth.

The study of these entities, known as “rogue black holes,” could help unlock myriad secrets about the universe’s evolution.

Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told FOX News: “These black holes are relics of the Milky Way’s past. You could say that we’re archaeologists studying those relics to learn about our galaxy’s history and the history of black holes in the early universe.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang—13.8 billion years ago—the nascent universe was a swirling mass of very hot gases and clouds. At the time, the galaxies were small and contained very little matter and at their cores. Inside them, lurked tiny black holes.

In the course of their development, they collided and merged, resulting in bigger and more complex galaxies. The black holes contained within them, too fused, coalescing into larger black holes. The impact of those collisions flung them to the outer edges of the galaxy. reports:

Some mergers would also create gravitational waves, which would be strong enough to hurl the merged black hole at speeds as high as 2,485 miles per second (4,000 kilometers per second). This is much higher than anyone predicted.

Holley-Bockelmann, astronomer at Vanderbilt University said:

Even the average kick velocity of 200 kilometers per second is extremely high when compared to the escape velocities of typical astronomical objects. We realized that basically any black hole merger would kick the new remnant out of a globular cluster, because the escape velocity is less than 100 kilometers per second.

The video—created by researchers Andrew Hamilton and Gavin Polhemus of the University of Colorado—is a simulation of the inside of a black hole.

Black holes are neither “black,” nor are they “holes.” They’re stellar corpses that have collapsed unto themselves under the weight of their own gravitational fields.

They’re supremely dense bodies, so much so that they don’t allow even a ray of light to escape them, which gives them the appearance of being inky-black. Each rogue black hole, it’s believed, could pack the mass of 1,000 to 100,000 of our own Sun.


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