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Astronomers find Earth’s nearest supermassive black holes – and they’re merging into a ‘monster’

Astronomer found a super pair black hole closer to Earth than any previously discovered planet.

The duo is 89 million light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, 380 light-years closer than our next nearest planet. black hole pair.

The two black holes are also closer together than any other discovered, just 1600 light-years apart. Eventually, the two holes will merge into “a monstrous black hole, possibly within the next 250 million years,” said Holger Baumgardt, a professor at the University of Queensland.

These massive gravity wells are incredibly dense, which astronomers from the Strasbourg Observatory in France were able to measure by looking at how the stars around them are being driven.

The larger black hole, located at the core of the galaxy classified as NGC 7727, is nearly 154 million times the mass of the Sun; while its companion has a mass of 6.3 million suns.

Astronomers have long suspected that this galaxy has two black holes, but they have not been able to confirm their presence so far. This is because a large amount of high-energy radiation is believed to be invisible to us.

(ESO/Voggel et al.; ESO/VST ATLAS)

Karina Voggel, astronomer at the Strasbourg Observatory, said: “Our findings suggest that there may be more vestiges of galaxy mergers out there and that they may contain many massive black holes. Hidden is still waiting to be found.

“It could increase the total number of known supermassive black holes in the Local Universe by 30%.”

Experts say the search for similar pairs of hidden supermassive black holes is expected to make a huge step forward with ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), which is expected to begin operations later in the day. this decade in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

“The discovery of a pair of supermassive black holes is just the beginning,” said co-author Steffen Mieske, an astronomer at ESO in Chile and ESO’s Head of Paranal Scientific Operations.

Additional Report of the Press Association

https://www.independent.co.uk/space/earth-closest-supermassive-black-hole-monster-b1968336.html Astronomers find Earth’s nearest supermassive black holes – and they’re merging into a ‘monster’

Tom Vazquez

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