One study shows that dozens of supermassive black holes in the Milky Way have the potential to swallow the Earth, but the chances are still slim, experts say.
Harvard researchers have discovered that black holes can become dangerous when one host galaxy collides with another, usually a larger galaxy, and the hole moves from its center. They discovered this by simulating the formation and motion of supermassive black holes over billions of years of global evolution. They also did this by operating a series of cosmological simulations called “ROMULUS” to monitor the paths of roaming black holes.
At the beginning of each simulation, the largest black holes were formed based on local gas conditions — objects formed in the absence of gaseous minerals.
In simulation, this led to it wandering in black holes a million times larger than the Sun.
The larger the galaxy, the more likely it is to catch wandering black holes – galaxies that can accommodate thousands.
But Angelo Ricciardi, the author of the study and astronomer, said: “Don’t worry, the chances of encountering a miraculous black hole are very slim.
Evidence from observations suggests that almost every major galaxy has a miraculous black hole at the center of the galaxy.
Supermassive black holes are incredibly dense areas at the center of the galaxy that are billions of times the mass of the Sun.
Fortunately, most rogue black holes merge with the supermassive black hole at the center of their new galaxy anyway.
This means that the remaining holes – for example, in the Milky Way – are in the galaxy farthest from our solar system.
“If there really is a miraculous black hole in our surroundings, we can detect its presence through the movements of nearby stars,” Ricciardi added.
The number of orbiting black holes in a given galaxy increases in line with the mass of the galaxy.
Researchers have suggested that in some early galaxies – about 12 billion years ago – miraculous black holes in the center of the galaxy may be larger than their counterparts.
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