Scientists have spotted one of the best proof yet of a trio of supermassive black holes in apparently merging galaxies.
Theories of the universe’s evolution forecast that galaxies, and the enormous black holes at their centers, evolve by merging. However, situations, where three supermassive black holes exist within the center of massive galaxies, are hard to come by. Understanding these systems can assist in elucidating how galaxies evolve more generally.
When supermassive black holes start gobbling up the matter and spewing radiation, the turn into active galactic nuclei, this could occur when two galaxies approach each other. Regardless of their significance, merging galaxies with dual active galactic nuclei are hard to search, with less than 30 documented candidates, based on newspaper.
The scientists behind this paper looked for dual active galactic nuclei by first sifting via infrared data on merging phenomenon of galaxies taken by the WISE space telescope. Then, they additional studied x-ray information on these sources from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and NuSTAR x-ray space telescope, in addition to infrared information from the Large Binocular Telescope and optical information from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
SDSS J0849+1114 is thrilling for more than just its rarity since systems like these might assist clarify why supermassive black holes merge at all. There’s a longstanding astrophysical problem known as the “Final Parsec Problem.” When two supermassive black holes get closer, they begin to orbit and get closer, losing energy through friction with the surrounding stars and gas. However, once they’re approximately a parsec or 3.26 light-years, apart, simulations show that they take on a more steady orbit, and it might take longer than the age of the universe for them to merge. However, given that galactic mergers are part of scientists’ theory of the evolution of the universe, these black holes should merge somehow.
The introduction of a 3rd supermassive black hole to a binary supermassive black hole pair may provide the required oomph to allow the merger to occur on a more reasonable timescale.
Pfeifle pointed out that there isn’t any assurance that these black holes will merge since that might require a better understanding of the system’s motion.
Still, scientists now have a suite of tools that can discover these triple-supermassive black hole systems. Pfeifle stated that the team would proceed to look for more examples to develop a more general understanding of them.