back to article Astronomers clock runaway black hole leaving trail of fresh stars

A runaway supermassive black hole is speeding through space and creating a trail of stars behind it, a phenomenon accidentally discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope. The rogue object, estimated to be 20 million times more massive than the Sun, is believed to have been forcefully kicked from its host galaxy after it came …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Large to small scale

    With the big rogue object we can see what happened.

    However, what would happen if a (very much) smaller rogue object would walk the earth. Would you also be able to detect a tail of creation in its wake(*)?

    (*) Creation will be arguably destructive if the rogue object is identified as human.

    Anyhow, nice pictures. Space is awesome.

  2. Camilla Smythe


    "After spotting the lone supermassive black hole, they were surprised to see it had left a trail of bright new stars in its wake. It's possible that interstellar gas is being shocked and heated as the black hole travels through it, triggering the material to collapse and form fresh stars."


    It is sucking stuff closer to itself at a rate that causes the stuff to reach a density so it can coalesce and make stars but it is going fast enough so it leaves enough in its wake to make those stars.

    This is why folks like you read El Reg. The insight commentards provide is way above the "shocked and heated" drivel Astrophysicists make up.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: Or?

      But shocked hydrogen will seek out other hydrogen. Anyone shocked would want to partner up to get comfortable again. And when partners get comfortably together, you know they are going to heat up. Before you know it they give birth to helium, lithium, beryllium, boron and cycle through carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.

      Multiply that by the size of the universe and the time of eternity and you get bright stars. See, it is that easy. All this is the result of the love coming from hydrogen getting shocked. All the way loved until explosions of gold and brightly pulsing uranium.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Or?

        Pulsing Uranus is when last night's dinner was an extra spicy vindaloo

      2. FBee

        NaCl Love Song

        Obligatory Kate & Anna McGarrigle reference-

        1. Winkypop Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: NaCl Love Song

          +1 for the Kate & Anna McGarrigle reference.

    2. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Or?

      > It is sucking stuff closer to itself


      > reach a density so it can coalesce and make stars

      ... and heated.

  3. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Daily Mail Headline

    Former star runs away after fathering hundreds of illegitimate kids.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Daily Mail Headline

      Would they mention the colour of the object?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Daily Mail Headline

      How could it resist? Tightest black hole in the galaxy…

      1. EricB123 Silver badge

        Oh My!

        After reading these comments, I think El Reg readers are severely sex-starved!

        1. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

          Re: Oh My!

          Well I think you're trying to convince yourself and the world that you aren't as desperate as you claim the other posters are.

          It's not working. :)

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Daily Mail Headline

      A whole truck load for you --------------------->

    4. zuckzuckgo

      Re: Daily Mail Headline

      >Former star runs away after fathering hundreds of illegitimate kids.

      And remarkably they were all sons.

  4. Snowy Silver badge

    As with many "accidental" discoveries.

    It is all about the follow up work!

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: As with many "accidental" discoveries.

      Yep and like many discoveries, it all started off with a "huh, that's odd, can't be right".

      But, it also was predicted to occur, just wasn't observed in the universe until now. Supermassive black holes don't usually collide, they more frequently will eject an interloper from both colliding galaxies and one prediction was stellar creation in the ejected SMBH wake.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: As with many "accidental" discoveries.

        ...Supermassive black holes don't usually collide...

        Not sure about that, how do you think they grew to supermassive size in the first place, the universe is not old enough for them to grow only by accretion, mergers are (probably) the only way for them to grow that big.

        1. Snowy Silver badge

          Re: As with many "accidental" discoveries.

          How the truly big blacks holes may have formed.

  5. Paul Herber Silver badge

    It's just a game of inter-galactic pool. Oh, and by the way, Earth is in the way of middle-left pocket.

    1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

      Earth is a speck of dust clinging to the felt.

  6. StuartMcL

    SO which is it?

    "and immediately realized they had stumbled on something unique when they looked closer."

    Just how did they determine that it was "one of a kind" in the entire Universe?

    "Now, the team is on a lookout to find more of these newborn star streaks in space."

    If it's unique, there's no point in looking for more.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: SO which is it?

      Beyond a reasonable size, everything is unique. This zooming black hole is massive, the likelihood of it not being unique is pretty much close to zero. There may be similar, but not the same; hence unique.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Massive black hole being followed by many minions

    Trump’s ego?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hollywood version

    ".... and it's heading for Earth! Only Captain Whatshisname can save us now!"

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Hollywood version

      Captain Kremmen ?

      Daren't make some obvious jokes :O)

  9. terry 1

    Sounds like a black hole is a massive space whirlpool. Kinda makes sense that it can't keep sucking stuff in so bound to eject matter as new elements.

    Maybe the universe wasn't created by a big bang, but was a load of black holes converting boring atoms into 'stuff'.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Black holes get a bad rap. They suck no more than an uncollapsed object of the same mass, you can safely orbit a black hole just like any other massive object and you won't get pulled in unless you pass the event horizon, the difference for back holes is the event horizon is external while objects made of uncollapsed mass have an event horizon that is internal so can never be reached. Even a single atom has an event horizon but it is deep in the nucleus, the event horizon (Schwarzschild) radius is calculated as r = 2GM/c² (where G is the gravitational constant, M is the mass of the object and obviously c is the SoL).

      There is a region called the Innermost Stable Circular Orbit which as the name suggests is the closest escapable orbit to the event horizon. It is not easy for an object to fall in just like it takes a lot of energy to send a spaceship to the sun. To get from ISCO to the event horizon an object needs a kick like a collision which sends one object in and ejects the other - this is part of the reason why some black holes are amongst the brightest objects in the universe. Of course an object aimed at the middle will go straight in but anything coming in at an angle will either be deflected or get caught in an orbit.

      What becomes of matter once it's entered a black hole is by definition unknowable but it's a fair guess it's not dissimilar to a neutron star but far, far worse.

      1. zuckzuckgo

        > while objects made of uncollapsed mass have an event horizon that is internal so can never be reached

        Not really true. One could tunnel down below your hypothetical event horizon and still come out with a finite amount of energy, so not really an event horizon. Neutrinos pass through the centre of the earth without being trapped by gravitational forces. If the earth was compressed into a black hole it would trap neutrinos.

        1. DJO Silver badge

          The Schwarzschild radius of the Earth is 8.8 millimetres - tunnelling there would be tricky to say the least. As for neutrinos, an interesting question - no idea what would happen if one hit the exact point.

          1. Bent Metal

            What would happen?

            > idea what would happen if one [neutrino] hit the exact point

            Nothing would happen.

            If a neutrino arrived at the centre (of mass) of the Earth, then as it speeds past the very centre there is no net gravitational force on it from the Earth at all. None. The gravitational acceleration due to all the various bits of the Earth exactly balances out to zero at that point, not to infinity.

            The neutrino still feels the effect of the Sun, Jupiter etc, but it's a neutrino and it's got places to go...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is news?

    Quote: " become a binary object 50 million years ago...."

    The Sun (no pun intended) is interested in scantily clad young women -- photographed 24 hours ago on the beach in Brighton!!

    .....but 50 million year old news.....from a location billions of miles away......I don't think so!

  11. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    All a matter of perspective

    However, looking over the entire lifetime of the galaxy it's a much smaller effect

    That's how I console myself whenever I find a bug in my code.

  12. Retiredwatcher

    Plans have been avilable for 50 of your Earth light years ?

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