Deep HST Imaging Favors the Bulgeless Edge-on Galaxy Explanation for the Hypothetical Stellar Wake Created by a Runaway Supermassive Black Hole

Montes, Mireia; Sánchez Almeida, Jorge; Trujillo, Ignacio
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Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society

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A long linear structure recently discovered could be the stellar wake produced by the passage of a runaway supermassive black hole (SMBH) or, alternatively, a bulgeless edge-on galaxy. We report on new very deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging that seems to be in tension with the SMBH runaway scenario but is consistent with the bulgeless edge-on galaxy scenario. The new observations were aimed at detecting two key features expected in the SMBH scenario, namely, the bow shock formed where the SMBH meets the surrounding medium, and a counter stellar wake created by another binary SMBH hypothesized as part of the ejection mechanism. Neither of these two features appears to be present in the new images, as would be expected in the edge-on galaxy scenario.