Black Holes on collision course (Photo Credit: NASA)
Black holes are a region of space-time exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it. In the space, black holes are one of the most complex entities. Apart from taking photographs, modern science is still unable to answer questions regarding these cosmic bodies. A study by Japanese astrophysicists that there could be up to 100 million black holes hiding throughout the Milky Way. Well, it can be dangerous for the Earth and humans as well if black holes collide with each other. Recently, at least three supermassive black holes were spotted in a spectacular collision by multiple space observatories including NASA.
According to the NASA, the impending collision is occurring one billion light years away in a system known as SDSS J0849+1114, which is a merger of three galaxies. It is worth mentioning here that the team of scientists led by Ryan Pfeifle, an astrophysicist at George Mason University, identified the rare event while searching for galaxy mergers.
It is to be noted that according to the scientists, supermassive black holes are the largest type of black hole that can grow to be millions or even billions of times as massive as the Sun. When galaxies collide, their central black holes emit radiation as they consume stars, gas, and dust from the merger.
Scientists working on Galaxy Zoo classified the system as a galactic merger using optical light images taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) telescope in New Mexico.
Using three NASA telescopes, Pfeifle’s team then took a closer look at the system across multiple wavelength. The three NASA telescopes are the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) spacecraft.
Three black holes colliding, as seen by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. (Photo Credit: NASA)
As per the report of space.com, the results revealed that SDSS J0849+1114 contains three supermassive black holes that are about 10,000 light years to 30,000 light years away from each other.
Importantly, Pfeifle and his colleagues will soon publish their findings in a forthcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
In a statement, “We were only looking for pairs of black holes at the time, and yet, through our selection technique, we stumbled upon this amazing system.” “This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system of actively feeding supermassive black holes,” he added.