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Tail of Stray Black Hole hiding in the Milky Way

| Science

Figure: Artist’s impression of a stray black hole storming through a dense gas cloud.
Artist’s impression of a stray black hole storming through a dense gas cloud. The gas is dragged along by the strong gravity of the black hole to form a narrow gas stream. Original Size (163KB)

By analyzing the gas motion of an extraordinarily fast-moving cosmic cloud in a corner of the Milky Way, astronomers found hints of a wandering black hole hidden in the cloud. This result marks the beginning of the search for quiet black holes; millions of such objects are expected to be floating in the Milky Way although only dozens have been found to date.

These observation results were published as Yamada et al. “Kinematics of Ultra-high-velocity Gas in the Expanding Molecular Shell adjacent to the W44 Supernova Remnant” in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 834, Number 1, article number L3, in January 2017.

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