As it is, finding a supermassive black hole in itself is a big challenge. It is the most elusive celestial body as it is nearly impossible to directly see them. This is mainly because a black hole consumes everything in its vicinity, including light. That’s why it was an incredibly rare discovery when it was found that two supermassive black holes were going to collide and merge. No one on Earth has ever seen such an event, let alone collect data from it. And now, we have a chance to not only observe the merger of black holes, but also find out some secrets about the universe we never knew existed.
According to a study published in arXiv titled ‘Tick-Tock: The Imminent Merger of a Supermassive Black Hole Binary’, a group of researchers have found that two supermassive black holes, located in a galaxy billions of light-years away, are going to merge in just three years’ time. The study notes, “If the interpretation is true, coordinated, multi-band electromagnetic campaign should be planned for this first binary SMBH (supermassive black hole binaries) merger event observed in human history, together with possible neutrino measurements”.
What happens when black holes collide
The galaxy SDSS J1430+2303 is a unique piece of puzzle for astronomers. It has an active galactic nucleus that has been claimed to be undergoing a periodic brightness variability that is speeding up. One explanation for this variability is that it could be a supermassive black hole binary. The study has calculated a trajectory, which postulates that this event can happen within three years. This will be the first time we get to observe a collision between two supermassive black holes.
The first time this strange phenomenon in this galaxy was found was in 2015. Since then, many observations have taken place to understand it better. The current accepted theory is the one that involves black holes.
This event can be scientifically monumental for humanity. Since we have never seen two black holes collide, we do not know the kind of energy that will be emitted once that happens. We also do not know about what happens to the surroundings of such an event. These can not only help us understand black holes better, they can also result in humanity discovering rare energy frequencies and learning more about how gravitational waves function.
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