For the first time in our existence, astronomers made an amazing discovery. At the center of a galaxy situated 750 million light-years away, they spotted two supermassive black holes which slowly orbit one around the other.
Two supermassive black holes much bigger than our sun
After a much closer analysis, astronomers came to the conclusion that they take around 30,000 years to perform a complete orbit. Also, they suspect that their position being so close together is the product of two former galaxies which had merged into a single one. They knew such a phenomenon was possible, but this is the first time when they are able to observe it.
These supermassive black holes are placed barely 24 light-years away from each other, which is pretty close. Also, they have a huge mass, which 15 billion times bigger than the mass of our sun. At the moment, they will continue orbiting each other, but astronomers expect them to merge into one single cosmic object at some point.
A unique discovery which helps us learn more about black holes
The fact that they have such a huge mass is not unusual, since black holes are usually much bigger than stars. However, they are really difficult to spot, and this is why this discovery is so important. Most of the time, their presence can be detected with the help of the nearby objects which they attract.
This discovery is, indeed, exciting, and astronomers don’t want to give up here. By continuing the study of this galaxy, they will acquire more information on black holes, and on their orbits. Also, they want to see if these holes were indeed the product of two galaxies merging, or more forces were involved.
For this study, astronomers used a system of telescopes located in Hawaii and other places in the US, but also in the Caribbean. The system, called Very Long Baseline Array, captured the tiniest motion ever observed in the sky.
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