Tech UPTechnologyThey discover the pair of black holes closest to...

They discover the pair of black holes closest to Earth

These two newly discovered supermassive black holes just 1,600 light-years away from Earth will eventually merge into one giant black hole. Meanwhile, thanks to the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory, a team of astronomers has managed to capture this pair of objects that are about 89 million light years away , so they are spiraling towards a cataclysmic collision.

Their separation is smaller than any other pair of supermassive black holes detected to date.


A scientific gold mine

Thanks to their close proximity, this pair of supermassive black holes represents an excellent opportunity to study them , compared to their more distant counterparts, and they reveal a never-before-seen stage in the black hole merger process.

Experts have discovered that the largest black hole , located in the heart of the galaxy NGC 7727 in the constellation Aquarius , had a mass almost 154 million times that of our Sun, while its companion has 6.3 million masses. solar. They determined their respective masses by observing how the gravitational pull of black holes influences the motion of stars around them. It is the first time that masses have been calculated in this way for a pair of supermassive black holes.

“Our finding implies that there could be many more of these relics of galaxy mergers and they may contain many hidden massive black holes that are still waiting to be found,” explains Karina Voggel, from the University of Strasbourg and leader of the work published by the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. “It could increase the total number of known supermassive black holes in the local universe by 30%.”



Referencia: K. T. Voggel et al, First direct dynamical detection of a dual super-massive black hole system at sub-kpc separation, Astronomy & Astrophysics (2021). DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202140827

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