Student discovers previously unseen cosmic phenomenon during finals project

By | May 13, 2010

Super-massive black holeA student astronomer may have pinpointed one of the universe’s most dramatic events for the first time – a so-called “supermassive” black hole being hurled out of a galaxy.

In pictures, the object discovered by Marianne Heida, looks like nothing more than a speck of light on the edge of a swirling cloud.

But the unassuming shape is thought to be a giant black hole, more than a billion times the mass of the sun, flying at 670,000 miles per hour through space.

Miss Heida, a student at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, made the discovery as part of a final-year project.

Working with experts at the Dutch space research institute SRON, she was cataloguing thousands of sources of X-rays in space when she noticed one bright spot which appeared to be radically out of place – on the edge of a galaxy rather than the centre.

The object, more than half a billion light years away, was so intense such that scientists believe it is likely to be a black hole.

Her project, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is thought to be the first time that the phenomenon has been captured.

via Student discovers previously unseen cosmic phenomenon during finals project – Telegraph.

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