Missing Monster Black Hole
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Text, News From The Universe. January 8, 2021. The Earth spins.
Text, A Missing Monster Black Hole. January 8, 2021.
Deep field photos of galaxies float past.
Text, The galaxy cluster Abell 2261 should be home to one of the universe's most massive black holes - but it's nowhere to be found.
Astronomers used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to search the cluster center for superheated material falling toward the black hole. Credit Visible NASA, NAOJ slash Subaru X-Ray.
Chandra did not detect any possible x-ray signatures of a growing supermassive black hole - not on the center of the galaxy cluster or in any nearby clumps of stars.
Either there is no black hole at any of these locations, or the black hole is pulling in material too slowly to produce a detectable X-ray signal.
If there is no black hole, it is possible it was ejected from its galaxy by the kickback from its own creation: the merger of two supermassive black holes.
A supermassive black hole merger has never been confirmed. Astronomers will continue to investigate; NASA's upcoming Webb Telescope could provide crucial clues.
This news was brought to you in part by Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, MA