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Unraveling The Existence Of Two Supermassive Black Holes Orbiting One Another For The First Time

First Posted: Jun 28, 2017 05:23 AM EDT
Black Hole Merger Animation
Scientists discovered two supermassive black holes orbiting with one another in the galaxy 0402+379. (Image for representation only.)
(Photo : SolarParallax/YouTube screenshot)

The scientists have discovered two supermassive black holes orbiting one another. They are located about 750 million light-years from the planet Earth in the galaxy named 0402+379.

The findings of the discovery were published in The Astrophysical Journal. The work was led by Karishma Bansal, a graduate student from the University of New Mexico Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Greg Taylor, a professor at the University of New Mexico, and other colleagues at Stanford, the U.S. Naval Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The researchers have been examining the interaction between these discovered two supermassive black holes for about 12 years, according to Phys.org.

Professor Taylor said that for a long time, they have been considering space and trying to find a pair of these supermassive black holes orbiting because of two galaxies merging. He further said that even though they have theorized that this should be happening, nobody had ever seen it until now.

Futurism reports that the scientists have used the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to map out the trajectories of the black holes and to determine that they are in orbit with one another. On the other hand, the size of the black holes generates their orbital period for about 24,000 years. This great discovery of the two orbiting supermassive black holes could help scientists understand more about the universe.

Professor Taylor said that supermassive black holes have a lot of influence on the stars around them and the growth and evolution of the galaxy. He further said that understanding them and how they merge with one another is significant for understanding of the universe.

These supermassive black holes have a mass of 15 billion times that of the Sun or 15 billion solar masses, according to Bansal. Meanwhile, Bob Zavala, the astronomer from the U.S. Naval Observatory, said that the orbits of the binary stars could provide great insights into stars. He added that now they could use the same techniques to understand supermassive black holes and the galaxies within them. 

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