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Supermassive Black Hole Spotted Moving Between Galaxies



A supermassive black hole has been spotted passing through several galaxies at high speed.

New electrifying scientific discoveries can often cause a buzz within the scientific community, and these discoveries like the recent advancements in how to tell time can have an impact on how scientists theorize about specific concepts. Another recent finding might have large ramifications on how scientists study black holes. According to an article from Science News, a supermassive black hole has been moving through a number of galaxies at an alarming rate.

The findings were initially reported by Yale University scientist Pieter van Dokkum and his team. The shape immediately stood out to van Dokkum “Whatever it is, we haven’t seen it before,” said van Dokkum, before adding “Most astronomical objects are shaped like a spiral or a blob. There are not many objects that are just a line in the sky.”  He continued: “We considered a lot of explanations, and the one that fit the best is what we’re witnessing is a massive object, like a black hole, moving very rapidly away from the galaxy,”

Astronomer Charlotte Angus believes the findings are important for confirming theories within the topic of black hole research. “The possibility that this might be due to a supermassive black hole that’s been ejected from its galaxy is very exciting. These events have been predicted by theory, but up until now, there’s been little evidence for them.”

black hole

Both scientists believe that this could prompt researchers to go back into the archives and look for similar black hole streaks or patterns. With 25 years of Hubble images, they believe that although the images had not been searched with the purpose of finding the streaks previously, a new lookover with this intention specifically could lead to further findings.

There are a number of possible explanations for this kind of movement in a supermassive black hole. One idea is that after two galaxies come together, the black holes that they’re structured around also merge, and sometimes this can result in the new black hole getting propelled out of the galaxy at a high trajectory. Another theory is that it could even be a result of three galaxies coming together. This can lead to one of the galaxies getting jettisoned out and streaking through the cosmos.

The anomaly was first recorded when van Dokkum and colleagues were observing dwarf galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope. After their initial findings, scientists revisited the event using the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Scientists will want to continue observing this system with additional telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope to confirm that it really is an ejected supermassive black hole, although this seems like the most likely possibility based on the image and theories surrounding the shape of what’s been spotted.

Scientists believe (based on the images) that the streak is roughly about 200,000 light-years away and was part of a galaxy whose light would take about eight billion years. It is estimated at 20 million times the mass of the Sun and moving at a speed of 3.5 million mph.

Although black holes on their own are invisible, as black holes move so too do some of the stars and gas that were gravitating towards them, which will emit radiation strong enough for telescopes to detect. In their movements, black holes can also cause the creation of new stars as the gas that they interact with compresses, and this is also visible using a telescope. This is why when scientists have viewed the event, it has appeared as a line on telescope images as opposed to the far more familiar spiral or blob shapes they’re used to seeing.

The findings might be able to confirm longstanding theories about how supermassive black holes interact and operate in relation to one another. The idea that a supermassive black hole could be ousted from its galaxy is something that scientists have theorized but until now had not seen.


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Retired astronaut Marc Garneau says he’s eager to learn which Canadian adventurer will make history by being the first to travel to the moon.

The four astronauts on the first crewed deep-space voyage in more than 50 years will be unveiled by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency on Monday. Three are from the United States and one is from Canada.


Scheduled to launch in November 2024, the Artemis II mission will make Canada and the United States the only two nations to have orbited the moon.

While three Space Shuttle flights under his belt, Garneau says he’d be thrilled to return to space, but he’s happy to hand the reins off to another history-making Canadian astronaut.

It’s an unique chance for Canada’s space program, according to Gordon Osinski, head of the Centre for Earth and Space Exploration at Western University in London, Ontario.

The long-term plan for the Artemis mission is to have a man and woman on the moon by 2025 in service of the ultimate goal: eventually dispatching astronauts to Mars.

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Going back to the moon: 'This is Canada on the world stage, doing big things' –



WASHINGTON — Ask Marc Garneau if he’d go back to space and the first Canadian to ever make the trip doesn’t hesitate: “In a wink.”

It’s another matter entirely, of course, whether the now-retired former astronaut and Quebec MP —  at 74, he finally gave up his seat in the House of Commons just three weeks ago — still has the right stuff.

“You always wonder, when you reach a certain age, whether you would still have that capability that you had when you were younger,” said Garneau, who flew three Space Shuttle missions between 1984 and 2001.


“Having flown three times, I consider myself blessed beyond any reasonable expectation in life.” 

Now the country’s pre-eminent “elder statesman” of space, Garneau has long waited for the day when he’ll be joined in the pantheon of pioneering explorers by the next astronaut to earn the “first Canadian” honorific. 

Who will it be? The world finds out Monday. 

That’s when NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will introduce the four astronauts — three from the U.S., one from Canada — who will steer the next stage of an ambitious plan to establish a long-term presence on the moon. 

Scheduled to blast off as early as November 2024, Artemis II will be the first crewed mission to the moon since the final Apollo mission took flight in 1972. It will also be the first time a Canadian has ventured beyond Earth’s orbit. 

Canada’s astronaut corps currently comprises four people, including David Saint-Jacques, an astrophysicist and medical doctor from Montreal and the only member of the group who’s already been to space. 

Saint-Jacques, 53, flew to the International Space Station in 2018. He was selected for the corps in 2009 alongside Jeremy Hansen, 47, of London, Ont., a colonel and CF-18 pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

Joining them in 2017 were test pilot and Air Force Lt.-Col. Joshua Kutryk, 41, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and Jennifer Sidey, 34, a mechanical engineer and Cambridge University lecturer from Calgary.  

“I’m not in any way jealous or envious,” Garneau said. “I’m just so excited that we are now taking Canada on what I would say is a major, major step forward.” 

It’s not quite the giant leap of 1969, but it’s close — about 7,400 kilometres away, to be precise. 

The four Artemis astronauts will encircle their home planet before sling-shotting into deep space for a figure-8 manoeuvre around the moon, making Canada and the U.S. the only two countries to ever pass over the dark side of the lunar surface.

“When I think back on 1984, when I first flew, we didn’t know what might happen after that,” Garneau said. 

“To now have the opportunity for Canada to be only the second country to have an astronaut go on a lunar mission — this is extraordinary.” 

It’s also the product of a tremendous amount of hard work and investment, said Western University professor Gordon Osinski, director of the school’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration. 

Osinski spent the bulk of last week in Houston, taking part in simulated spacewalks to better learn and understand how best to conduct the geological work future astronauts will be required to do on the lunar surface.

While that research isn’t directly related to Artemis, it’s bound to be a key factor down the road as the ultimate mission continues to evolve into something that will bear little resemblance to its Apollo ancestors. 

“I can do field geology on Earth with a Star Trek-like instrument that tells me the chemistry of a rock. It wasn’t even imagined 50 years ago,” Osinski said. 

“So as we progress in the whole Artemis program, I think you’ll really see 21st-century space exploration like we might imagine from Star Trek and things.”

Even now, Osinski is still incredulous that Canada managed to secure a spot on Artemis II — and he credits everything from the country’s geographical and economic ties with the U.S. to the ongoing work of the Canadian astronaut corps. 

Then there’s the Canadarm, the articulated remote manipulators that became a fixture of Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions and a point of national pride for countless Canadians of a certain age.

“The U.S. has let go and said, ‘OK, Canada, we trust you enough that we’ll literally put the lives of our astronauts in your hand,'” Osinski said. 

“So that trust maybe goes a long way to explain how we did it.”

 The plan is to put a man and woman on the moon in 2025 in service of the ultimate goal: eventually dispatching astronauts to Mars. And Canada is expected to play a critical role going forward. 

“We’re going back to the moon. The moon, that’s a big thing,” Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said last week. 

“This is Canada on the world stage, doing big things.”

That, ultimately, could be Artemis II’s biggest legacy for Canada: inspiring the next generation of astronauts in much the same way that Apollo did all those years ago. 

This time, though, the visuals will be spectacular.  

“As much as we get excited about robots and the Canadarm and things, having a personal experience in that could be a huge moment and a big milestone for the Canadian space program,” Osinski said. 

“There’s just something about having an astronaut do that.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2023.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press

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After sunset, see the 5 planets in the sky



This chart shows a westward view after sunset on March 30, 2023. Jupiter is getting harder to see, and the Sun is falling into the setting light. But Mercury will rise in the west — every evening — and rise throughout early April. Note that Uranus is close to Venus, but not shown. We show Uranus in the chart below. By way of illustration Used with permission.

How to see 5 planets

This week (late March 2023), you can see five planets lined up in our evening sky: Venus and Uranus, Jupiter and Mercury and Mars. Gianluca Massi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome, Italy, showed them through a telescope earlier today (March 29). To enjoy his presentation, watch the video below. In addition, you can see them in the sky, perhaps, if your sky conditions are very good, and you have a sharp eye.

As soon as the sun sets, the planets are positioned in a gentle arc across the evening sky, following the sun’s path across our sky. Likewise, the Moon and the planets also follow the eclipse.

How can we see the planets? Go out around sunset and look west. Among them you can easily spot the bright planet Venus.

Then use binoculars to scan the planet Uranus next to Venus.


Then aim your binoculars low in the sky, near the point where the sun is setting. That is where you will find Jupiter and Mercury.

Then look high in the sky — still see the eclipse or the path of the Sun — to Mars.


Guide to Planetary Viewing

Venus and Uranus. Of these five planets, Venus is the brightest and Uranus is the dim. These two are close together in the sky. Venus is easily visible to the eye. It is the first “star” (actually, planet) to come into view. Uranus shines at +5.8 magnitudes. This is theoretically obvious. But, in practice, you need a dark sky and a telescope to find it. It was roughly 1.5 degrees or three moon widths from Venus earlier this week. Uranus will be closest to Venus on Thursday, March 30.

Thursday and Wednesday. Jupiter is the 2nd brightest planet. But it is now near sunset and visible only in bright twilight. Bright twilight skies make Jupiter more difficult to find. But Jupiter is still visible to the naked eye very close to sunset. And Wednesday? It is fainter than Jupiter (though still brighter than most stars). But it is near sunset. Shortly after sunset, start looking for the pair on the western horizon. You need clear skies and an unobstructed western view to catch them. A telescope should help. They disappear only 30 minutes after sunset. So, when the sun sets, the clock chimes.

tuesday, now the 5th planet in the evening sky, was easy to spot earlier this week because it’s not far from the Moon in our sky’s dome. A bright red light near the moon on Tuesday evening, March 28, 2023. Mars is bright. It is brighter than most stars. And it is clearly red. Even after the sun goes away, you can still spot Mars by its color and by the fact that it doesn’t shine like stars.

Some inventor charts

March 30, Venus and Uranus through binoculars. Venus at upper right, large and bright.March 30, Venus and Uranus through binoculars. Venus at upper right, large and bright.
On the evening of March 30, 2023, bright Venus transits dim Uranus. In other words, these 2 worlds are very close on March 30. Assuming you have a dark sky, standard telescopes can easily show Uranus next to Venus. Illustration by John Jardine Gauss/EarthSky.
5 Planets: Astrology Chart for March 31 showing Nakshatras. Planets and Moon align at sunset.5 Planets: Astrology Chart for March 31 showing Nakshatras. Planets and Moon align at sunset.
This chart shows the view looking west after sunset on March 31, 2023. Can you catch Jupiter in the sunset light? Every evening, Mercury becomes superlative in early April. Note that Uranus is close to Venus, but not shown. By way of illustration Used with permission.
5 Planets: Astrology chart for March 29 showing stars. The planets and the moon align at night.5 Planets: Astrology chart for March 29 showing stars. The planets and the moon align at night.
Want to see 5 planets tonight? Be ready for a challenge. This chart shows the view looking west after sunset on March 29, 2023. As the days pass, it becomes harder and harder for Jupiter to fall into the setting sun. But Mercury will rise in the west — every evening — and rise throughout early April. Note that Uranus is close to Venus, but not shown. By way of illustration Used with permission.
Two nearly half-light moons, 1 to the right near the Red Spot (Mars) and the other to the left near the stars named Castor and Pollux.Two nearly half-light moons, 1 to the right near the Red Spot (Mars) and the other to the left near the stars named Castor and Pollux.
Here is a chart showing both March 28 and March 29. See how the Moon moves with Mars? Check out the twin stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins. Illustration by John Jardine Gauss/EarthSky.

Visit for accurate views from your location.

Bottom line: You have a chance to see five planets tonight and throughout this week. Here are illustrations and information, including where to look in the video.


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