The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the supermassive black hole has deepened, despite searching with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have no evidence that a distant black hole can be found to be It is estimated to weigh between 3 billion and 100 billion times the mass of the Sun.
According to the NASA site, the missing supermassive black hole should be in the huge galaxy at the center of the Abel 2261 galaxy cluster, which is about 2.7 billion light-years from Earth.
The composite image of Abell 2261 contains optical data from Hubble and the Subaru Telescope showing galaxies in the cluster and in the background, and X-ray data from Chandra, which shows hot (pink) gas permeating the cluster.
Half of the image shows the large elliptical galaxy at the center of the cluster. Almost every large galaxy in the Universe contains a supermassive black hole at their center, with a mass that is millions or billions of times that of the sun.
Since the mass of a central black hole often follows the mass of the galaxy itself, astronomers expect the galaxy at the center of Abell 2261 to contain a supermassive black hole that rivals the weight of some of the largest known black holes in the Universe.
Using the Chandra data, obtained in 1999 and 2004, astronomers had already searched the center of the large central galaxy of Abell 2,261 for signs of a supermassive black hole.
They looked for material that had become overheated as it fell into the black hole and produced X-rays, but they did not detect such a source.
However, now with the new and longer observations of Chandra obtained in the year of 2018, a team led by Kayhan Gultekin of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, conducted a deep search for the black hole in the center of the galaxy.
They also considered an alternative explanation, in which the hole was ejected from the center of the host galaxy, this violent event may have resulted from the merging of two galaxies to form the observed galaxy, accompanied by the central black hole in each galaxy, merging to form a huge black hole.
When black holes function, they produce waves in spacetime called gravitational waves. If the large number of gravitational waves generated by such an event were stronger in one direction than another, the theory predicts that the new, even more massive black hole would have been sent at full speed from the center of the galaxy in the opposite direction. This is called a receding black hole.
However, astronomers have never found definitive evidence for them to actually occur, apart from not knowing if supermassive black holes get close enough to each other to produce gravitational waves and merge, so astronomers have only verified mergers of much smaller black holes.
Despite the fact that scientists have found clues that a black hole merger occurred in the central galaxy of Abell 2261, neither the Chandra nor Hubble data showed evidence of the existence of the black hole itself, thus the Mystery of the location of this gigantic black hole continues, NASA announced.
The NASA believes there is hope that astronomers seeking this supermassive black hole, find it in the future.
It is hoped that once the Jamess Webb Space Telescope is launched, it will reveal the presence of the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy or in one of the groups of stars around it. If the device cannot find it, then the best explanation would be that this black hole has moved too far from the center of the galaxy.