Black Hole Racing Across the Milky Way


PureInsight | January 6, 2003

THE EXPLOSION: This artist's impression shows a black hole and its yellow companion star shot into space by a supernova.

[] On November 18, 2002, astronomers announced that the Hubble Space Telescope observed a black hole racing across the Milky Way. This discovery is the best evidence that black holes are indeed the invisible offspring of supernova, the catastrophic and explosive deaths of massive stars. "The newly detected black hole, named GRO J1655-40, is the first black hole observed speeding through the galactic plane, where the sun and most of the other Milky Way stars reside." [1]

According to astronomers, the newly detected black hole, "shot from a spectacular cosmic explosion, is racing across the Milky Way four times faster than the stars around it." "The two objects move at 250,000 mph (111 kilometers per second) in relation to the stars around them." [1] Its speed indicates that the black hole was most likely shot from a cosmic explosion. "The object is at least 6,000 light years away and is headed roughly in our direction but poses no immediate threat." [1]

"Our solar system sits on a spiral arm in the outskirts of the main disk of the galaxy. Star formation is more frequent and intense nearer the galactic center, so supernova occurrences are more common there, too." [1]


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