Kinematics Of Ultra-High-Velocity Gas In The Expanding Molecular Shell Adjacent To The W44 Supernova Remnant

Journal: The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Published: 2016-12-29

DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/834/1/l3

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 9

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Research Highlight

Black hole bullet shot from a supernova

© VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS/Science Photo Library/Getty

© VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS/Science Photo Library/Getty

A cosmic gas cloud bursting out of a supernova may be the result of a hidden black hole.

While measuring the energy generated by an exploding star 10,000 light years away, a team of researchers from Keio University detected a dark, dense and fast-moving mass that appeared to have ripped through the supernova’s expanding blast field.

The team used the Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment in Chile to investigate the object’s speed and density. Nicknamed ‘the Bullet’, they found it is a compact cloud of molecules travelling more than 100 kilometres per second, outpacing the supernova itself. The team propose two possible origins of the Bullet — either a static black hole pulled the passing gas cloud in so close that it created another powerful explosion or a speeding black hole tore through the supernova and dragged the gas along with it.

This finding could help astronomers locate more of the millions of invisible black holes believed to be lurking in our galaxy.

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  1. Astro JLett 834,L3 (2016). doi: 10.3847/2041-8213/834/1/l3
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Keio University, Japan 1