The black hole in the heart of a nearby galaxy is drifting – which is rather odd for a behemoth with a million-solar-mass. The black hole is moving at 100 kilometers per second (220,000 mph) relative to its host galaxy. It also travels 50 km/s relative to gas and stars within a radius of 100 light years around it.
Fraser Cain, publisher of space website Universe Today, wrote for Phys.org: “And not just any black hole, it’s a supermassive black hole with more than 4.1 million times the mass of the Sun.
“Located just 26,000 light-years away. And as we speak, it’s in the process of tearing apart entire stars and star systems, occasionally consuming them, adding to its mass like a voracious shark.”
However, due to Andromeda’s size, there will only be one winner when it crashes into the Milky Way.
But, as Andromeda is 2.5 million light years away, it will take over four billion years to reach us, so we are safe for now.
Mr Cain said: “Panic will happen when the Milky Way collides with Andromeda in about 4 billion years.
“Suddenly, you’ll have two whole clouds of stars interacting in all kinds of ways, like an unstable blended family.
“Stars that would have been safe will careen past other stars and be deflected down into the maw of either of the two supermassive black holes on hand. Andromeda’s black hole could be 100 million times the mass of the Sun, so it’s a bigger target for stars with a death wish.”