January 29, 2022

Beyond Going Long

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A huge number of supermassive black holes roam through galaxies like our own. Where do they go?

Almost every galaxy in the universe has a supermassive black hole at its core. Our best models show that its mass correlates with the mass of the host galaxy’s interior.

In other words, the growth and evolution of a supermassive black hole is closely related to the growth and evolution of its home galaxy, the portal notes. Phys.

giant space eaters

As the gate writes ScienceAlertNot all black holes are stationary, and some can move through the galaxy like nomads. In professional circles, these “shrinking” black holes are referred to as “vagrants.” The problem is that these stray black holes are still only at the theoretical level, because they are almost impossible to observe and not yet quantified.

The image from the ROMULUS simulation shows the movement and location of roaming black holes. Ricarti et al., 2021

A new study published in the Journal of Determining the Size of Stray Black Holes Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. In it, the authors were able to find out where and in what number there are “Wanderers” in the form of black holes in the universe.

The findings are an important piece of the puzzle in understanding the evolution and growth of supermassive black holes.

Supermassive black holes are giant objects that grow to millions to billions of times the mass of our star. Their origin and origin remain unclear to this day. We know that “classical” black holes arise from the collapse of the cores of massive stars, but in this way the existence of black holes weighing more than 55 times the mass of the Sun can no longer be explained.

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For this reason, astronomers believe that supermassive black holes grow by consuming stars, gas and dust, but especially by merging with other black holes in colliding galaxies. Mergers of black holes, but not something that happens “from day to day”.

It’s basically a very complicated process, and we can do it in some cases Detect gravitational waves, and in some cases we believe that integration may be disrupted or even completely halted for a number of very complex reasons.

Don’t search too much
Easten’s theory confirmed. For the first time we were able to look behind a black hole

black holes wandering

That’s exactly what the new study suggests, as Angelo Ricarte of CfA (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and his team used ROMOLUS simulations to shed light on roaming black holes. More specifically, through simulations, ROMULUS was able to predict that even after billions of years of evolution, some supermassive black holes simply don’t connect to a galactic nucleus and instead wander around the galaxy aimlessly. But it’s interesting that there are a lot more of these massive vagabonds than we might expect.


In their simulations, they constantly monitored the orbital evolution of a pair of supermassive black holes and were able to predict which black holes were hoping to merge into a galactic nucleus that would never reach that destination. They also looked at how long this process could take and how many black holes would interrupt their merging.

It turns out that even in today’s world, some wandering black holes are still moving. Simulations indicated that these wanderers make up about 10% of the total mass of all black holes in space. It is certainly worth noting that in the early universe, “only 2 billion years”, wandering black holes outnumbered black holes “fixed” in the galactic core, so basically they made up a significant part of the mass for everyone. black holes.

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Simulations also predict that Milky Way-like galaxies contain, on average, up to 12 supermassive black holes wandering in the galactic halo far from the galactic core.

However, despite their immense appeal and sheer number, we never have to notice these vagabonds. Presumably, these black holes are not active, so they don’t absorb matter from the motion disk around them, so we have no way of observing them.