Astronomers have discovered the nearest pair of supermassive black holes to Earth ever recorded using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The two black holes are also far closer together than any other pair of supermassive black holes ever observed, and will ultimately merge into one gigantic black hole.
The pair of supermassive black holes are located in the galaxy NGC 7727 in the constellation Aquarius, around 89 million light-years distant from Earth. Although it looks to be a long distance away, it is far closer than the previous record of 470 million light-years, putting the newly found supermassive black hole pair the nearest to us ever.
Massive galaxies have supermassive black holes in their centers, and when two of them meet, the black holes collide as well. black holes in the sky, measuring barely 1600 light-years apart.
“This is the first time we’ve observed two supermassive black holes this close together,” says Karina Vogel, lead author of the research published online today (November 30, 2021) in Astronomy & Astrophysics. University/CASU/WFAU
Using the ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers found the nearest pair of supermassive holes to Earth ever observed. This video summarises the finding.
According to co-author and University of Queensland professor Holger Baumgardt, “the tight spacing and velocity of the two black holes predict that they will combine into one monster black hole within the next 250 million years.” The formation of the Universe’s most massive black holes may be explained by black hole mergers like this.
Vogel and her colleagues were able to calculate the masses of the two objects by looking at how the gravitational pull of the black holes influences the speed of the stars surrounding them.
This is the first time the masses of a pair of supermassive black holes have been determined in this way. The team was able to do this because of the system’s proximity to Earth and extensive observations taken at the Paranal Observatory in Chile using the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) on ESO’s VLT,.
Which Vogel learned to operate during her time as an ESO student. By using MUSE and extra data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the researchers were able to confirm that the objects in NGC 7727 were supermassive black holes.
Astronomers found and measured the masses of a pair of supermassive black holes in the NGC 7727 galaxy, which is 89 million light-years distant from Earth. This pair is the closest supermassive black hole pair ever detected, both in terms of distance from Earth and distance between the two black holes.
Stars circling more massive black holes have a larger gravitational attraction, which causes them to accelerate. The spectral lines in the stars’ spectra widen as they travel faster, reflecting this influence. , the width of the spectral lines was calculated. Astronomers calculated the masses to be between 154 million and 6.3 million times the Sun.
VST ATLAS team; Voggel et al. ; ESO/L. Calçada ESO/L. Calçada; VST ATLAS team; Voggel et al. Credit: Voggel et al., ESO/L. Calçada, ESO/L. Calçada, ESO/L
NGC 7727 is a galaxy in the constellation Aquarius that is 89 million light-years from Earth and includes the closest pair of supermassive holes known to date. With approximately 1600 light-years separating them in the sky, the duo likewise boasts the lowest distance between two supermassive holes.
Each of the two holes lies at the center of one of NGC 7727’s two luminous nuclei, which can be seen in the last portion of the film. The two holes are on a collision course and will meet and merge into one gigantic black hole in the next 250 million years.
This close-up picture of NGC 7727’s central region and two nuclei was acquired by the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. Calçada/ESO/L. Calçada/ESO/L. Calçada/ESO/L. Calçada/ESO/L. Calçada/ESO/L. Calçada/ESO/L. Calçada/
VST ATLAS team; Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul Cobalto, Azul
The hunt for similarly hidden supermassive hole couples is expected to take a huge step forward when ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) begins operations later this decade in Chile’s Atacama Desert. “This finding of two supermassive holes is only the beginning,” says Steffen Mieske, a Chilean astronomer and Head of ESO Paranal Science Operations. on the ELT.” ESO’s ELT will be crucial in understanding these objects.”
The title of the research article is “First Direct Dynamical Detection of a Dual Super-Massive Hole System at Sub-Kpc Separation.” 30 November 2021 in Astronomy & Astrophysics
10.1051/0004-6361/202140827; 10.1051/0004-6361/202140827; 10.1051/0004-6361/202140827; 10.1051/0004-6361/202140827; 10.1051/0004-6361/202140827; 10.1051/0004-6361/202140827; 10.1051/0004-6
Anil C. Seth (University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA [UofU]), Holger Baumgardt (School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia), Bernd Husemann (Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie, Heidelberg, Germany [MPIA]), Nadine Neumayer (MPIA), Michael Neumayer (MPIA), Karina T. Vogel (Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, Observatoire Astron de Strasbourg (MPIA).