Two Supermassive Black Holes Set To Collide

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Topic 197931

An unusual, repeating light signal in the distance may be coming from the final stages of a merger between two supermassive black holes. At just a few hundredths of a light-year apart, they could be merging in a mere one million years. An event like this has been predicted based on theory, but has never been observed before, according to a new study published in Nature this week.

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"The end stages of the merger of these supermassive black hole systems are very poorly understood," Graham says. "The discovery of a system that seems to be at this late stage of its evolution means we now have an observational handle on what is going on."

Study co-author Daniel Stern of JPL adds: "The black holes in PG 1302-102 are, at most, a few hundredths of a light-year apart and could merge in about a million years or less.†And when that happens, The New York Times reports, it’ll release as much energy as 100 million supernova explosions.

Link to article at "IFLS"