(INDEPENDENT) — Black holes are the big bullies of space. They’re so massive that their gravity doesn’t let any light escape. The biggest black holes, called “supermassive”, weigh as much as a billion suns. Looming at the centre of seemingly every galaxy, including the Milky Way, they control the formation of stars and can deform the fabric of space-time itself. It takes a lot to push a black hole around.
But eight billion light-years from Earth, in a galaxy called 3C 186, astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole that got kicked off its throne. Now it’s rocketing through space at a speed of almost 5 million miles an hour.
There’s one thing that could unseat a supermassive black hole in this manner, the researchers say: gravitational waves.