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Astro Hammer: On a Collision Course!  Researcher discovers giant black holes

Astro Hammer: On a Collision Course! Researcher discovers giant black holes

Astronomers have discovered a hidden pair of supermassive black holes in a nearby galaxy that could merge into an even bigger monster. Read here how dangerous this is to us.

Astronomers have discovered a hidden pair of supermassive black holes.
Photo: AdobeStock/elen31 (avatar)

What a search! Astronomers have discovered a hidden pair of supermassive black holes in a nearby galaxy that could merge into an even bigger monster. The black holes, discovered by the European Observatory’s High-Performance Telescope (ESO), are expected to collide with each other in about 250 million years.

Giant black holes discovered 89 million km away

According to the British “Express”, astronomers discovered the doomed couple in the galaxy NGC 7727 in the constellation Aquarius, about 89 million km away. This makes it the closest pair of supermassive black holes to Earth that astronomers have ever discovered. Previous record holders at a distance of 470 million light-years.

Black holes are very difficult to track down because they represent a region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that once light cannot escape, once it gets stuck in their clutches. Instead, scientists have to use X-ray signals and the motion of stars and other celestial bodies affected by their gravity to determine their presence.

This scientist discovers black holes

The black holes were discovered in NGC 7727 by astronomer Karina Vogel from the University of Strasbourg. She and her colleagues have investigated how the gravity of black holes affects the movements of stars around them. From this, astronomers concluded that the galaxy’s core is home to two supermassive black holes, one 154 million times heavier than our Sun and the other 6.3 million times. The data was then confirmed by observations made with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

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