Author: James Caldwell
ARE THESE BLACK HOLES GOING TO COLLIDE?
A galaxy, which sits about 2.5 billion light-years away has two supermassive black holes, visible because of the heated gas, dust, and stars around them. The two black holes are on a collision course, but astronomers still aren't sure whether they will collide. Astronomers have observed several black hole mergers, all between stellar-mass black holes less than 100 times the mass of our Sun. But no mergers between supermassive black holes, those with masses millions or billions times that of our star, have ever been seen. Both of these black holes are more massive, more than 800 million suns. The galaxy itself is a merger remnant which is all that’s left after two galaxies combined.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY COLLIDE?
The collision will be one of the most super powerful blasts, which will create massive waves which we can feel from earth. In this collision, the two supermassive holes will merge into an even larger supermassive black hole. This will be called the ultramassive black hole.
SO WHEN WILL THIS HAPPEN?
Since these holes were spotted at about 1,400 light-years apart and won’t make their final approach for 2.5 billion years, it’s likely happening now. But since gravitational waves travel at the speed of light, astronomers won’t see the event for another 2.5 billion years, if it even happens.