When astronomers claim to have discovered a supermassive Black Hole that is traveling 4 million mph from its original galaxy, this will raise some eyebrows.
Last month, The Astrophysical Journal Letters Published a paper about a Hubble space telescope observation which described a crazy scenario: A gigantic black hole that was traveling so quickly it wasn’t consuming stars and planets but rather lighting up the universe with a shimmery path stretching 200,000 light-years in front of it. Pieter van Dokkum was an astronomy prof at Yale University who thought the black hole must have ignited new stars as it plowed through a cloud of gas. NASA helped to spread the word about his team’s bizarre and seemingly unheard of discovery.
“Like the wake behind a ship, we’re seeing the wake behind the black hole,” he said in a statement in April.
The idea of a “trail” was too bizarre for some and sparked skepticism among scientists. Many researchers began considering other possible explanations. For one group at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in Spain, the answer cuts like Occam’s razor: What if that “trail” is just a galaxy, and we’re just seeing it from the side rather than face on?