A new study in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggests that a mysterious object just 90 million light years away from Earth could be a supermassive black hole.
The team of international scientists' findings suggest that the object is a black hole that was "kicked out of its home galaxy during a collision with another galaxy," Science magazine reports. If their findings are proven accurate, the black hole would be the first "evictee" to be confirmed by astronomers.
The unknown object, SDSS1133, is roughly 2,600 light years away from the center of the Markarian 177 galaxy. The object, probed by NASA's Swift mission, has "brightened substantially" in the last two years, Science reports. But since it has been seen in various images for the past 63 years, leading scientists to believe it's not an exploded supernova.
The new research reveals areas of star formation in the Markarian 177 galaxy, which could prove that a recent galactic collision forced SDS1133 out of its parent galaxy. If the object isn't a black hole, it might also be a "luminous blue variable," an extremely rare star. Scientists plan to study the object with ultraviolet wavelengths next year to gain further insight about what it may be.