Scientists have recently discovered a binary supermassive black hole or SBH system about 400 million light-years from Earth. This is the closest know such system in the universe. In this particular unit, the black holes are also seemingly less than one light year apart from one another. It is just the second such binary system that scientists have been able to observe. The previously discovered binary SBH consists of two black holes about 24 light years apart.
The previously identified binary SBH consists of two black holes that are about 24 light years apart.
This Second Binary System Confirms Astrophysicists’ Theories
The SBH was spotted by a team of astrophysicists including Doctors Dharam Vir Lal and Preeti Kharb. They are part of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics or NCRA of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Pune, India.David Merritt of New York State’s Rochester Institute of Technology was also part of this latest study.
Computational models had already predicted the existence of such black hole systems. They are presented as being a possible explanation as to the source of gravitational waves. This discovery is important because it provides direct, observational evidence of the kinds of two black hole systems predicted by such computational models.
Binary black hole systems consist of two black holes that orbit around one another. In 2015, the LIGO or the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory telescope in Pasadena, California spotted the first ever binary SBH system.
A supermassive black hole is one that has more than one million times the mass of the Earth’s sun. The second binary system has a mass of more than 40 million times the mass of the Earth’s sun.
Dr. Kharb believes the orbital time of the second binary system to be of around 100,000 years. The research team writes that the discovery of this system confirms the general theory. One which holds that binary systems should exist in systems that create what researchers call Z-shaped radio waves.
The formation of these binary systems, coming in the wake of a galaxy merger, is theorized as being the explanation for these unusually-shaped radio waves. Galaxy mergers occur when two or more galaxies collide. This result in a variety of gravitational interactions between the dust and gases of each of the involved galaxies.
Detailed study findings are available in a paper in the journal Nature Astronomy.
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