MIND-boggling new research into the biggest black hole ever measured shows it was pinballed across the cosmos after colliding with another black hole.
Scientists studying a seemingly run-of-the-mill galaxy called NGC 1277 have concluded that the black hole at its centre spent billions of years travelling through space at 4.5 million kilometers per hour (2.8 million mph) devouring millions of stars along the way before finally being adopted by its current galaxy.
The research also uncovered the astonishing fact that black holes can smash into each other, creating an unbelievable energy surge in one direction which pinballs the newly formed supermassive black hole in the other direction often with enough speed to escape the galaxy.
Erin Bonning, an astronomer at Quest University Canada in Squamish, British Columbia and Gregory Shields, of the University of Texas at Austin examined NGC 1277 which is 250 million light-years away in the Perseus cluster.
They concluded that its central black hole was simply too big and began to question whether the two had evolved together.
They pinpointed a second galaxy 325,000 light-years called NGC 1275 and deduced this was the product of a galactic merger that took place billions of years ago.
The merging galaxies’ black holes, each about 10 billion times the mass of the sun, orbited each other at nearly the speed of light until they united. Then energy released from the merger flung away the newly formed black hole.