NASA | GSFC | STScI | HubbleSite | 2018 Nov 07
Peering through thick walls of gas and dust surrounding the messy cores of merging galaxies, astronomers are getting their best view yet of close pairs of supermassive black holes as they march toward coalescence into mega black holes.These images reveal the final stage of a union between pairs of galactic nuclei
in the messy cores of colliding galaxies. (Credits: NASA, ESA, and M. Koss
(Eureka Scientific, Inc.), Hubble, W.M. Keck Observatory, and Pan-STARRS)
A team of researchers led by Michael Koss of Eureka Scientific Inc., in Kirkland, Washington, performed the largest survey of the cores of nearby galaxies in near-infrared light, using high-resolution images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The Hubble observations represent over 20 years' worth of snapshots from its vast archive. ...
The images also provide a close-up preview of a phenomenon that must have been more common in the early universe, when galaxy mergers were more frequent. When galaxies collide, their monster black holes can unleash powerful energy in the form of gravitational waves, the kind of ripples in space-time that were just recently detected by ground-breaking experiments.
The new study also offers a preview of what will likely happen in our own cosmic backyard, in several billion years, when our Milky Way combines with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy and their respective central black holes smash together. ...
Best View Yet of Supermassive Black Holes in Merging Galaxies
W.M. Keck Observatory | 2018 Nov 07
Pairs of Black Holes at the Centers of Merging Galaxies
University of Maryland | CMNS | 2018 Nov 07
A Population of Luminous Accreting Black Holes with Hidden Mergers ~ Michael Koss et al
- Nature 563(7730):214 (08 Nov 2018) DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0652-7