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Dutch Student Discovers Supermassive Black Hole

A supermassive black hole may have been observed by a Dutch student.

During the course of her final undergraduate research work, Dutch student Marianne Heida at Utrecht University, was comparing hundreds of thousands of x-rays with galaxy formations when she noticed something odd. What she found may possibly turn out to be a super massive black hole being expelled from the galaxy at very high speed.

Looking at one galaxy in the Catalogue, Ms Heida noticed that the point of light was offset from the centre and yet was so bright that it could be associated with a supermassive black hole.

Super-massive black holes weigh more than 1 billion times the mass of the sun.

However, a final judgment on exactly what’s out there awaits further study. it’s possible that the finding may also be a supernova, or even a “midsize” black hole.

If it turns out to be a supernova, then it would be a very ‘strange” one that scientists aren’t very familiar with, study co-author Peter Jonker, an astronomer with the Netherlands Institute for Space Research in Utrecht told National Geographic. Even odder, he said it would suggest that the supernova was bright enough for astronomers on Earth to detect–even though it never popped up on their radar.

Heida did her research at the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research in Utrecht. The results have been accepted for publication in The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Ms Heida said: “We have found many more objects in this strange class of X-ray sources. With Chandra we should be able to make the accurate measurements we need to pinpoint them more precisely and identify their nature.”

This must be the season for gallactic migrations. Last week, astronomers released photos of a massive star that they say was kicked out of its home about 180,000 miles from Earth.