Two distant black holes are a bout to collide, and it could destroy galaxies and send shockwaves through space-time.
Two supermassive black holes deep in space are on a slow-motion collision course — and when they meet, the force will be unbelievable.
The event will destroy galaxies and blast shockwaves through the universe, and new research indicates we could see them from Earth much sooner than scientists had though, according to a CNET report.
The black holes are located in the Virgo constellation, which is billions of light-years away, so we don’t have to worry about them affecting our neck of the woods. In fact, this also means that this collision already happened long ago, we’re just now seeing it.
In fact, it’s really inevitable that two supermassive black holes would collide somewhere in the universe, but it’s rare for humanity to have a front-row seat to the results.
Supermassive black holes are at the center of pretty much all galaxies. These two galaxies and the black holes at their center have been spiraling around each other at about one light-week apart, an extremely small distance. The closest black hole pair that had been discovered before this one was still 20 light years apart.
With 200 billion galaxies in the known universe, it’s not surprising that scientists would spot galaxies merging. What is unusual is to witness the moment when a galaxy fully merges and the two central black holes collide, release an incredible display of energy that changes the very fabric of space-time.
Researchers at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab believe they’ve spotted such an event because of an unusual light signal from quasar PG 1302-102. This appears to be caused by two black holes circling each other located at less the length of our solar system. The published their findings in the journal Nature.
They made their discovery by noting their appeared to be two quasar emission lines instead of just one, indicating that there is a second black hole at a very close distance.