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Old 11-07-2019, 02:04 PM
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gary is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mt. Kuring-Gai
Posts: 5,505
Pair of supermassive black holes discovered on a collision course

In a post today by Thomas Sumner at the Simons Foundation in New York,
it is reported that two supermassive black holes (SMBHs) have been discovered
that are on a collision course.

Originally Posted by Thomas Sumner
Each black hole's mass is more than 800 million times that of our sun. As the two gradually draw closer together in a death spiral, they will begin sending gravitational waves rippling through space-time. Those cosmic ripples will join the as-yet-undetected background noise of gravitational waves from other supermassive black holes.

Even before the destined collision, the gravitational waves emanating from the supermassive black hole pair will dwarf those previously detected from the mergers of much smaller black holes and neutron stars.
The pair of black holes were first indirectly detected with the Hubble Space Telescope.

The abstract to the published paper seems to suggest that if the pair's
drawing toward each other is not detected as contributing to the gravitational
wave background (GWB) over the coming years that this may
indicate that, to quote from the authors, "SMBHs merge only over
extremely long timescales, remaining as close separation binaries for
many Hubble times, the so-called "final-parsec problem." "

I would imagine there would be a lot of astronomers out there hoping
they will collide soon to gather the data!

Article here :-

Abstract. Andy D. Goulding et al, "Discovery of a Close-separation Binary
Quasar at the Heart of a z ∼ 0.2 Merging Galaxy and Its Implications for
Low-frequency Gravitational Waves"
, The Astrophysical Journal (2019).
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