Pic of the Week: Runaway Black Hole

Image (Credit): Artist’s rendering of a black hole with a trail of stars behind it. (NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak, STScI)

This week’s image is an illustration showing what scientists believe the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has detected, though it initially showed as only a smudge. The dramatic illustration tells a fascinating story, as described by NASA’s Hubblesite

There’s an invisible monster on the loose, barreling through intergalactic space so fast that if it were in our solar system, it could travel from Earth to the Moon in 14 minutes. This supermassive black hole, weighing as much as 20 million Suns, has left behind a never-before-seen 200,000-light-year-long “contrail” of newborn stars, twice the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy. It’s likely the result of a rare, bizarre game of galactic billiards among three massive black holes.