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Scientists have never before seen a pair of supermassive black holes so close to colliding.
The nearest pair of supermassive black holes ever found, a newly discovered pair of supermassive black holes are on the verge of collision with one another.
A pair of supermassive black holes that are imminently going to collide with one another have been discovered by astronomers. This deadly pair of supermassive black holes is the closest to colliding, according to the Simons Foundation, and this is the first time that astronomers have seen the celestial event at this magnitude.
The two cosmic behemoths are thought to be rather close together from a cosmological perspective, but they are still around 750 light-years apart and won't merge for a few hundred million years. The distance between the two black holes "is fairly close to the limit of what we can detect," according to Chiara Mingarelli, co-author of an article on the subject published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, which is why the discovery is so fascinating to astronomers.
Only by integrating several images from seven telescopes were the astronomers able to distinguish between the two black holes due to their close proximity. Naturally, an optical telescope cannot directly observe these enormous black holes. Instead, they are typically surrounded by heated gas and bright clusters of stars, which can be utilised to demonstrate their existence.
The "mash-up" of two galaxies that collided about 480 million light-years from Earth contains the black holes. Most galaxies have such supermassive black holes at their centre, where they eat stars, gas, dust, and other matter as they grow larger and larger. The newly discovered stars, which have masses of 200 million and 125 million times that of the Sun, respectively, can be regarded as real heavyweights.
As their host galaxies combined, these two black holes were positioned to collide. They are about to start circling one another in a tightening orbital dance. The Simons Foundation predicts that they will eventually start generating gravitational waves that are stronger than any that have been observed before colliding and forming an even more gigantic black hole.