Scientists believe that we are about to witness one of the most powerful events in the universe in the merger of two supermassive black holes.
Mankind is about to witness one of the most powerful events in the universe in the coming years, according to a study published in the journal Nature Astronomy. Scientists believe that within the next 10 years, we will witness the merger of two supermassive black holes, creating powerful gravitational waves that dwarf the recent discoveries by LIGO involving two black holes or neutron stars.
Supermassive black holes are at the centers of galaxies and are many times larger than standard black holes. A collision of these two forces would create astonishingly powerful gravitational waves that are unlike anything in the entire universe, and we are on the cusp of witnessing them, scientists say.
The study used actual data instead of just simulations to predict that we will witness such an event within the next decade. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, made headlines in 2016 when it first detected gravitational waves, but the gravitational waves from a supermassive black hole merger would be on a totally new level.
“The gravitational waves from these supermassive black hole binary mergers are the most powerful in the universe,” says study lead author Chiara Mingarelli, a research fellow at the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute in New York City, according to a November statement from the Simons Foundation. “They absolutely dwarf the black hole mergers detected by LIGO.”