Astronomers discover pairs of black holes ready to merge as galaxies collide

Images reveal the final stages of galactic collisions. Pic NASA

Researchers have managed to obtain a set of images that capture the effects that appear after galaxies collide and merge, leading to a huge energy explosion and the unification of supermassive black holes into a massive giant black hole. This is because when the merger of a pair of galaxies is almost complete, they are surrounded by thick clouds of dust and gas, and only very high-resolution imagery can isolate the two galaxies' colliding nuclei. Most prior observations of colliding galaxies have caught the coalescing black holes at earlier stages when they were about 10 times farther away.

According to NASA, a "galaxy merger" is a slow process that can take more than a billion years to complete. "Around 6 billion years from now, the two galaxies will merge to form a single elliptical galaxy". Some of the material also falls onto the black holes at the cores of the merging galaxies.

Scientists successfully captured a series of images they say show what happens when galaxies collide and merge.

"Seeing the pairs of merging galaxy nuclei associated with these huge black holes so close together was pretty fantastic", said Michael Koss, co-author of the new study published in the journal Nature.

To check their results, they compared the survey galaxies with a control group of 176 other galaxies, from the Hubble archive, that lack actively growing black holes.

Astronomers also said that these black holes grow the quickest during the final stages of a galaxy merger which was also the case with these two galaxies that we've told you about.

Led by University of Maryland alumnus Michael Koss, a research scientist at Eureka Scientific, the team surveyed hundreds of nearby galaxies using imagery from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii as well as NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Researcher Laura Blecha said that the fact that black holes grow faster and faster as the merging process progresses shows that such galaxy encounters are really essential for experts' understanding of how these objects can get such vast over time. The findings suggest that such events are more common than astronomers used to think.

More news: Woman, 50, Arrested After Needles Found In Strawberries

This last step helped the researchers confirm that the luminous galactic cores found in their census of dusty interacting galaxies are indeed a signature of rapidly-growing black hole pairs headed for a collision.

The scientists said each of the black holes were said to once occupy the centre of one of the two original, smaller galaxies.

Black holes are areas of space-time which are so dense that nothing - whether matter or energy - can escape them.

"Galactic mergers might be a key way of growing black holes", Koss said. Therefore, these galaxies were already in the final stages of a merger. The massive black holes at the center of the colliding galaxies are expanding "as they feast on gas kicked up by the galaxy merger", the statement said. These ripples in space-time, which were predicted by Einstein, were recently detected in 2016 by groundbreaking experiments.

The astronomers targeted galaxies with an average distance of 330 million light-years from Earth.

Something similar is expected to happen when our Milky Way galaxy crashes with the nearby Andromeda galaxy, though it's not expected to happen anytime soon, the researchers said. OSIRIS will allow them to measure both the rotation rate and mass of the black holes, which would make it possible to estimate how long it will take before the supermassive black holes collide and how strong the gravitational wave signal might be. Image credit: NASA / ESA / M. Koss, Eureka Scientific, Inc / W. M. Keck Observatory / Pan-STARRS.

Future infrared telescopes such as NASA's highly anticipated James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), slated for launch in 2021, will provide an even better view of mergers in dusty, heavily obscured galaxies. These direct observations had not been made before.

Related News:



Most liked

Google to appoint Geisinger CEO as healthcare services head
Google's forays into healthcare have included products such as Google Fit and Google Nest. Google hired Geisinger Health CEO David Feinberg to lead its healthcare efforts.

Thousand Oaks community honor hero cop Sergeant Ron Helus
He and other first responders "ran toward danger", Sheriff Geoff Dean said at a vigil Thursday evening, calling Helus a hero. A representative from Conejo Valley Unified School District did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Is Duke Basketball Better Than Cavs? Paul Pierce Sides With Blue Devils
In just 23 minutes on the floor, the 6-foot-7, 285-pound power forward racked up 28 points and 7 rebounds on 85% shooting. Once Kerr realized that, he jokingly asked National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver to not fine him.

Rams CB Peters wasn't happy with Saints' Sean Payton
Peters didn't elaborate on what Payton said on the sideline, but that delicious dinner date is a distinct possibility for January. Peters said he not only looks forward to playing the Saints again, but also to sharing a bowl of gumbo with Payton.

Facebook launches Lasso, its competitor to TikTok
Facebook describes Lasso as an app that "makes it easy for anyone to create and share short videos with fun effects". About half of USA teenagers say they use Facebook , a decrease of 20 percentage points from 2015 , according to Pew.

Putin says he DID talk with Trump despite last-minute Elysee seating change
Police officers detain a protester who tried to jump in front of the motorcade of the United States president, Donald Trump . Putin also greeted several other leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

World leaders mark 100 years since WWI Armistice in Paris
Mr Macron has previously made much of the fact he is the one European leader to have a good relationship with the U.S. leader. Trump will be the most notable absentee at the forum, where Macron's defense of multilateralism will take center stage.

Saints sign WR Bryant, place Meredith on IR
Every locker room that I've been in from middle school, high school, college to the pros, it's always been like a family. Dez Bryant said he's excited to join "baby GOATs" Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara and "big GOAT" Drew Brees .

Dan Crenshaw Trolls Pete Davidson With Ariana Grande Ringtone
But after forgiving Davidson, Crenshaw had some fun of his own when his phone rang and played the Ariana Grande song "breathin". And then, "He looks like Martin Short in 'The Santa Clause 3 .' By the way, one of these people was actually good on 'SNL '".

Friends: Acting AG Whitaker Has Close Relationship With Trump
Later in the day, Trump tweeted that he did not know Whitaker personally, but several Republican leaders in Iowa respected him. Also, Whitaker reportedly was in regular contact with Trump while serving as Sessions' chief of staff before being promoted.

Guardiola ‘trusts’ Manchester City in defence of Financial Fair Play accusations
Vicky Kloss, the City director of communications, was said to have sent an email to club executives warning them to avoid a deal. If the documents are legitimate, then the method in which Football Leaks obtained them could hamper any challenge made by UEFA.

Nishikori set for ATP Finals test after bouncing back from slump
That's a great achievement in itself [that he's playing here for the 16th time], and that he's won this title six times. If this was my season in the year I was injured, I would have taken it right away, same four or five years ago too.

Personal belongings Hawking left the auction
A copy of his bestselling " A Brief History of Time ", signed with a thumbprint, sold for over $89,000. Children and colleague of Stephen Hawking told about the views of the scientist about the afterlife.

Donald Trump endorses Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House
In the past 20 years, at least one party in midterm elections has taken control of the House or Senate from the other party. Waters, Curl explained, is famous for calling for Trump's impeachment, shrieking "Impeach 45!" at all of her appearances.

Deals being offered this Veterans Day
MONDAY, NOV. 12 - US military service members can eat for free from Shoney's All You Care To Eat, Freshly Prepared Breakfast Bar. On Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11th, Applebee's is on a mission to serve one million meals to neighborhood military heroes.