In three years, we will be able to see two supermassive black holes crash into each other
When a galaxy about a billion light-years away starts acting strangely, astronomers worry that it may be hiding one of the most-anticipated events in modern astronomy.
Changes in the light coming from the center of the galaxy SDSS J1430+2303 show that two supermassive black holes with a combined mass of about 200 million Suns are moving toward each other.
In cosmology, the word “imminent” can sometimes mean more than one human lifetime. If the signal really is coming from huge black holes, the prediction that they will merge in the next three years is good news.
It’s possible that this is our best chance to see two supermassive black holes crash into each other. It’s still not clear if that is at J1429+core, though. Experts in the year 2303 say to keep an eye on the mysterious galaxy to find out what it is.
In 2015, scientists made the important discovery that two black holes had crashed into each other. Because these huge events cause ripples in space-time, gravitational waves have been found many times afterward.
So far, all of these mergers have involved black holes with stellar-mass radii as partners. There is a very good reason for this. LIGO and Virgo were built to be able to find objects with masses in this range.
Current observatories can’t pick up the slower, stronger waves made by supermassive black holes colliding and spiraling (millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun).
Still, it would be cool to see two supermassive black holes join together. Even without a detector that can pick up low frequency gravitational waves, scientists expect a huge explosion with a widening spectrum.
The information from that burst could tell us everything we need to know about how these things happen. A few clues suggest that binary mergers could be one way that supermassive black holes grow to be so big.
We know that supermassive black holes are at the center of galaxies, and we have seen not only pairs and groups of galaxies colliding, but also supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies that have merged with each other orbiting each other in mutual, decaying orbits. These are based on the fact that the light coming from the centers of galaxies changes over time, which is consistent with orbital motion.
Once more, we are at the coordinates J1430+2303. This year, a group of astronomers led by Ning Jiang of the University of Science and Technology of China have already put out a study that shows very strange behavior. The study was posted to the preprint service arXiv. Over the course of three years, the length of time between galactic nucleus oscillations went from almost a year to just over a month.
Even if J1430+2303 has a black hole binary at its center, that doesn’t mean it is about to explode. Since galactic nuclei are mysterious places that send out murky signals, there may be something else going on in the region of fluctuation around J1430+central 2303.
Astronomers looked at X-ray wavelengths to try to figure out what was going on. A team from Guangzhou University in China, led by Liming Dou, has used data from many X-ray observatories to look for high-energy signs that would be present in a pair of supermassive black holes close to each other that are moving away from each other. The study will last for 200 days.
With a level of certainty of 99.96%, the scientists used two sensors to see an emission caused by iron falling into a black hole, as well as changes in the X-ray radiation that the galaxy made. Even though this emission has been linked to pairs of supermassive black holes, the team wasn’t able to find the “smoking gun” signs that would prove the existence of such a system.
Radio observation analysis that came out in July also didn’t give a clear answer. When it comes to J1430+2303, it looks like we don’t have all the answers yet.
One thing we know for sure is that there is something strange going on in the middle of our galaxy. J1430+2303 seems like it should be looked at more closely and in more depth because, first and foremost, it is a mystery, and a very interesting one at that.