A black hole formed by a lopsided merger may have gone rogue

Astronomers have uncovered the first solid evidence that merger events between black holes can deliver a “kick” powerful enough to send a black hole spinning out of its galaxy.

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

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