A new study has found that two supermassive black holes will merge within 10,000 years, in a collision that will send ripples across the universe.
The research, led by a team of astronomers from 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 has a mass hundreds of millions of times greater than the mass of our Sun.
Furthermore, 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 bodies are set to collide about 10,000 years from now, in a collision so intense that it will send gravitational waves through the fabric of space and time.
The studytitled Unexpected Phenomena of PKS 2131–021 Blazar: A Unique Candidate for a Supermassive Black Hole, was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on Wednesday.
The authors say that despite the fact that galaxy mergers are not rare, “there are relatively few cases of two galaxies with supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in their nuclei being seen in the actual merger.”
The researchers discovered the two objects in an energy-packed body known as a quasar, which is a highly energetic, highly luminous galactic nucleus powered by a supermassive black hole.
according to California Institute of TechnologySome supermassive black holes of quasars shoot jets close to the speed of light — in the new study, the quasar, designated PKS 2131-021, belongs to a subclass of quasars called blazars that fire their jets toward 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 set to merge.
The first known quasar is called OJ 287, and it has two black holes that separate each other and orbit each other every nine years.
So how do two supermassive black holes merge?
Normally when galaxies cluster together, their black holes are pulled toward the middle of the new adherent galaxy and eventually form a larger black hole.
As black holes merge, their immense force disrupts the fabric of the universe with gravitational waves.
This article originally appeared the sun It is reproduced here with permission.
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