A black hole formed by an unbalanced merger may have gone wrong

Astronomers have found the first solid evidence that merger events between black holes can provide a “kick” powerful enough to knock a black hole out of its galaxy.

The team, which included Vijay Varma, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Albert Einstein Institute, Germany, examined gravitational wave data from the meltdown event known as GW200129 collected by the detectors LIGO and their European counterpart, Virgo. Through this analysis, the scientists discovered that the black hole created in this collision and merger had been sent through space at 3 million mph (4.8 million km/h) – a discovery described by one team member as “both startling and shocking”.

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