Supermassive black holes discovered on collision course


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Sep 22, 2018
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Each black hole's mass is more than 800 million times that of our sun. As the two gradually draw closer together in a death spiral, they will begin sending gravitational waves rippling through space-time. Those cosmic ripples will join the as-yet-undetected background noise of gravitational waves from other supermassive black holes.

Even before the destined collision, the gravitational waves emanating from the supermassive black hole pair will dwarf those previously detected from the mergers of much smaller black holes and neutron stars.


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Sep 21, 2018
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From the original article:

Since looking at distant objects in astronomy is like looking back in time, the pair belong to a universe 2.5 billion years younger than our own. Coincidentally, that's roughly the same amount of time the astronomers estimate the black holes will take to begin producing powerful gravitational waves.
In other words, no news from this pair of black holes for a long long time.

On the other hand, current estimates are about 2 trillion galaxies in the observable Universe. Since many of them appear to host large black holes, and galaxy mergers are common, we can hope to see a black hole merger in a reasonable amount of time. Our own Milky Way Galaxy has a 4 million solar mass black hole at the center.
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