The 20 Million MPH Cosmic Hurricane Tearing Through Our Universe

If you thought space was a peaceful vacuum, think again: scientists have discovered the fastest winds ever observed on a stellar-mass black hole, and they reach an incredible 20 million mph.

The winds, detected using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, are ten times faster than any detected at similar black holes in the past, reports Space. While some bigger black holes feature winds that have hit similar speeds, this changes the way scientists think about smaller black holes for good. Ashley King, of the University of Michigan, said:

"This is like the cosmic equivalent of winds from a Category 5 hurricane. We weren't expecting to see such powerful winds from a black hole like this."

One upshot of the fierce winds is that this black hole, known as IGR J17091, is actually expelling almost as much mass as it's ingesting. That goes against the common understanding of how black holes work, which usually suggests that they're like giant cosmic Hoovers, sucking up any and all matter in sight. [Space; Image: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss]