A new study has found that two supermassive black holes will merge within 10,000 years, in a collision that will cause ripples across the universe.
The study, led by a team of astronomers at the California Institute of Technology, found that two supermassive black holes, about 9 billion light-years away in deep space, orbit each other every two years.
Each supermassive black hole is hundreds of millions of times more massive than our Sun.
In addition, the two objects are relatively close to a distance of 1,950 astronomical units (about 50 times more than the distance between our Sun and Pluto)
The two objects will collide in 10,000 years, in a collision so intense that it will send gravitational waves through the fabric of space and time.
The studyPublished Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, titled An unexpected phenomenon for PKS 2131–021 Blazar: A unique candidate for a supermassive black hole.
The authors say that despite the fact that galaxy mergers are not rare, “there have been relatively few cases of two galaxies with supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in their nuclei that have been seen in an actual merger.”
The researchers discovered these two objects in an energy-rich object known as a quasar, a high-energy, highly luminous galactic nucleus powered by a supermassive black hole.
according to California Institute of TechnologySome supermassive black holes of quasars explode jets at the speed of light — in the new study, the quasar, designated PKS 2131-021, belongs to a subclass of quasars called blazars, which shoot their jets to Earth.
The researchers hypothesize that PKS 2131-021, observed more than 45 years ago, is now the second known quasar with a pair of supermassive black holes on the verge of merging.
The first known quasar is called OJ 287 and has two black holes separated from each other and orbiting each other every nine years.
So how do two supermassive black holes converge?
When galaxies clump together, their black holes typically gravitate toward the center of the newly accreting galaxy, eventually creating a larger black hole.
When black holes merge, their immense force disrupts the fabric of the universe with gravitational waves.
This article originally appeared the sun Reproduced here with permission.
“Thinker. Coffeeaholic. Award-winning gamer. Web trailblazer. Pop culture scholar. Beer guru. Food specialist.”