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When radio galaxies collide, supermassive black holes form tightly bound pairs

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:26 pm

A study using multiple radio telescopes confirms that supermassive black holes found in the centers of galaxies can form gravitationally bound pairs when galaxies merge.

The paper published in the Sept. 18 issue of Nature Astronomy sheds light on a class of black holes having a mass upwards of one million times the mass of the sun. Supermassive black holes are expected to form tightly bound pairs following the merger of two galaxies.

"The dual black hole we found has the smallest separation of any so far detected through direct imaging," said David Merritt, professor of physics at Rochester Institute of Technology, a co-author on the paper.

The supermassive black holes are located in the spiral galaxy NGC 7674, approximately 400 million light years from earth, and are separated by a distance less than one light year. The study was led by Preeti Kharb, from the National Center for Radio Astrophysics at Pune University in India and co-authored by Dharam Vir Lal, also at Pune University and Merritt at RIT.

"The combined mass of the two black holes is roughly 40 million times the mass of the Sun, and the orbital period of the binary is about 100,000 years," Merritt said.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:27 pm

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Credit: TIFR-NCRA and RIT, USA

The two compact radio sources separated by less than a light year at the center of the galaxyNGC7674. The two sources correspond to the location of the two active supermassive blackholes which form a binary and orbit around each other

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:29 pm



Not one but two gigantic black holes lurk at the heart of the distant spiral galaxy NGC 7674.

 
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