Black Holes Inching Towards ‘Merger’

  • Astronomers said :In a galaxy far, far away, a pair of supermassive black holes appear to be spiralling together towards a cosmic collision of unimaginable scale.
  • S. George Djorgovski, of the California Institute of Technology said :The final act of this mating dance, perhaps a mere 1 million years from now, could release as much energy as 100 million of the violent supernova explosions in which stars end their lives, and wreck the galaxy it is in.
  • Mr. Djorgovski said: Most of that energy would go into gravitational waves, the violent ripples of space-time that are predicted but not yet directly detected by Einsteins theory of general relativity and there could be electromagnetic fireworks as well.
  • Mr. Djorgovski explained: According to the theory the interactions of the black holes would drive nearby stars away, like shingles in a tornado.
  • Mr. Djorgovski, one of the authors of a paper published in the journal Nature  will discuss the research at a meeting in Seattle.
  • The merging black holes manifested as a regular flicker in a quasar a mass of light and energy in a remote galaxy known as PG 1302-102.
  • Mr. Graham and his colleagues wrote: The most logical explanation, is a pair of black holes circling each other less than a light-year apart.
  • Avi Loeb, a cosmologist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who was not involved in the work, noted that other less-convincing systems have been suspected said
  • Avi Loeb added:This is the most convincing evidence for a tight pair of black holes with a separation smaller than the solar system.
  • He cautioned:the evidence is not yet airtight; the apparent variation in the quasar light could be a statistical effect from not checking it frequently enough.”
  • If it holds up under scrutiny, the system could be a bonanza for the young field of gravitational wave astronomy.
  • It would also provide a preview of what will happen in our own Milky Way galaxy in a few billion years when it collides with the neighbouring Andromeda galaxy, sending the black holes at the hearts of both galaxies into an intimate (pre-arranged) companionship.