Black holes, codenamed PKS 2131-021, are trapped in a dance of death about 9 billion light years From Earth, according to a study published February 23 in Astrophysical Journal Letters. The two bodies have been steadily moving toward each other for about 100 million years, according to Statement from NASAand now they share a binary orbit, with the two black holes orbiting every two years or so.
About 10,000 years from now, the two black holes will merge, sending off gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of spacetime he originally predicted. Albert Einstein Spiraling across the universe, the researchers said. Although none of us will witness this epic collision, now studying PKS 2131-021 could reveal new information about how supermassive black holes form and what happens when two of them collide.
Supermassive black holes – extremely black and dense objects with a mass more than hundreds of millions of times a landSun – sits in the hearts of most, if not all, galaxies in the universe. Astronomers don’t know how these objects become so large, but one possibility is that the largest black holes in the universe are caused by at least one merger between two smaller black holes, according to NASA. The new study may help confirm this hypothesis.
PKS 2131-021 is a special type of black hole known as a blazar — essentially a supermassive black hole that just so happens to be sending a jet of supercharged matter straight to Earth. This material originates from the rings of hot gas that form around some black holes; When a black hole pulls in that gas with its force gravitysome materials may escape, and instead be pushed away in a jet plasma Traveling at nearly the speed of light.
The authors of the new study were observing the brightness of about 1,800 blazars scattered across the universe when they noticed something strange: the brightness of the Blazar PKS 2131-021 oscillated at regular intervals—so it was expected, in fact, that the study’s authors likened the fluctuations to the ticks of a clock.
The researchers suspected that these differences were the result of a second black hole pulling on the first as the two bodies orbit each other every two years or so, but the team needed more data to see how long that pattern lasted. So the researchers dug into data from five observatories spanning 45 years. All the additional data matched the team’s predictions of how the brightness of the Blazar binary would change over time.
If the results are confirmed, PKS 2131-021 will be the second pair of binary black holes ever discovered – and scientists have found the most closely knit pairs. Scientists discovered the universe’s first known binary candidate for a black hole in 2020 in a galaxy about 3.5 billion light-years from Earth. However, those black holes orbit each other every nine years, indicating that there is a much greater distance between them than between the two members of PKS 2131-021.
Brutal black holes are big enough and close enough to release gravitational waves before their inevitable collision, study authors say He said in a statement. Future observations of PKS 2131-021 will focus on capturing those waves in action.
Originally published on Live Science.