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Astronomers find "runaway" black hole
Posted: Mon, Nov 18, 2002, 2:04 PM ET (1904 GMT)
Black hole ejected from supernova (ESA/NASA/F. Mirabel illus.) The discovery of a fast-moving black hole has given astronomers their best evidence yet linking black holes with supernovae. Astronomers used Hubble Space Telescope images taken six years apart to determine that the black hole, designated GRO J1655-40, is moving through the galaxy in an elliptical orbit at 400,000 kilometers per hour, four times the speed of normal stars. Astronomers led by Felix Mirabel of the French Atomic Energy Commission believe that that the best explanation of the black hole's speed is if it was ejected from the supernova explosion that created it. The black hole currently 6,000 to 9,000 light years from the Earth, and should not approach any closer than 1,000 light years over the next 230 million years, Mirabel told SPACE.com. A paper discussing the discovery was published in the November 19 issue of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
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