The fate of the Milky Way. Astronomers spot giant black holes on the verge of collision for the first time

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The fate of the Milky Way. Astronomers first saw giant black holes on the verge of a collision

Binary black holes, according to new research may be more common in the universe than astronomers thought.

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With the help of ground and space telescopes, an international team of scientists has discovered for the first time that two huge black holes are so close to the collision. They are at the center of two galaxies that are merging together, and a new discovery suggests that such binary black holes may be more common in space than scientists thought, writes CNN.

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Two giant black holes are at the closest stage to complete merging and becoming a larger giant than astronomers have observed before.

This pair of black holes revolve around each other at the center of a huge galaxy formed by the collision of two smaller galaxies. This galaxy, called UGC 4211, is 500 million light-years away. In fact, in this galaxy, the merger process is at its final stage, and in 4.5 billion years something similar will happen to our galaxy when it collides with the Andromeda galaxy. Understanding more details about the final stages of galaxy mergers could provide more insight into what will happen to the Milky Way in the far future.

The fate of the Milky Way. Astronomers first saw giant black holes on the verge of collision

The fate of the Milky Way. Astronomers first saw giant black holes on the verge of a collision

As for supermassive black holes, which were originally located separately in the centers of two galaxies, one of them has a mass exceeding 200 million times the mass of the Sun, and the second is 125 million times heavier than our star. These black holes were not directly detected, but they were found thanks to the clusters of stars near them and the substance absorbed by these space monsters, as a result of which radiation comes out.

Astronomers believe that the cosmic dance of these huge black holes will eventually culminate in their complete merger and transformation into an even larger object. But this will not happen soon, but in a few hundred million years. Nevertheless, these black holes are already very close to each other, at a distance of only 750 light years. By space standards, this is a small distance.

According to Chiara Mingarelli of the Flatiron Institute in New York, it was a big surprise to find a pair of black holes, rather than one, in a galaxy that had almost completed its process of formation after the two galaxies merged.

The fate of the Milky Way. Astronomers first saw giant black holes on the verge of collision

The fate of the Milky Way. Astronomers first saw giant black holes on the verge of collision

“We have detected a very close-to-merger pair of black holes in a distant galaxy that arose after the collision of two other similar objects. Because such mergers of galaxies are more common in the distant universe, we believe that such binary black holes may also be much more common than previously thought,” says Michael Koss of the Eureka Research Institute, California, USA.

If pairs of black holes, and the galaxy mergers that produce them, are more common in the universe than previously thought , they may be important for research on gravitational waves. These waves just arise when black holes collide. The findings from this observation may help scientists better estimate how many pairs of black holes in the universe are close to colliding.

As Focus wrote, astronomers using the Webb Space Telescope discovered a huge shock wave that is larger than the size of the Milky Way. It appeared as a result of the movement of one and five galaxies in the famous Stefan Quintet.