Scientists Just Detected Two Supermassive Black Holes on a Collision Course

Scientists Just Detected Two Supermassive Black Holes on a Collision Course


Supermassive black holes are thought to be
at the center of most galaxies, and they are huge. The Milky Way’s own supermassive black hole,
Sagittarius A*, is about 4 million times the mass of our sun. But scientists have just spotted two absolute
behemoths, that dwarf Sagittarius A*, and they are on a collision course. It’s the first time such massive black holes
have been spotted this close together, and it could help us detect a hum of gravitational
background noise. Of course “close” is a relative term and
in this particular instance when scientists say close, they mean about 1,400 light-years
apart. The black holes are located about 2.5 billion
light-years from us, so since the light from them took 2.5 billion years to reach us, we’re
observing them as they were 2.5 billion years ago. Coincidentally, the scientists who discovered
them estimate that that’s about how long it will take before they collide. They could be going all smashy smashy right
now, unleashing huge gravitational waves millions of times more powerful than those previously
detected by LIGO and Virgo. Of course, because of how far away they are,
the waves won’t reach us for 2.5 billion years. That is, if they happen at all. We’ve observed stellar mass black holes
merging, but we’re not sure if their supermassive counterparts can join forces megazord-style
too. It seems odd, I mean, these things each have
an incredible gravitational pull, why wouldn’t they ram head on into each other? Right now the thinking is when galaxies merge,
their supermassive black holes begin to orbit each other. As they do, dust and stars in between them
sap some of their energy, causing their orbits to tighten. But as they get closer, that region of space
between them shrinks, until theoretically there’s no way to lose more energy. The two black holes find themselves stably
orbiting each other but never getting closer, like you and your crush at an 8th grade dance. Some studies suggest that happens at about
1 parsec, or roughly 3.2 light-years distance, so it’s known as the final parsec problem. But all that is theoretical, and we’re lacking
more observational data. It’s possible our predictions are wrong
and black holes of this size do merge instead of stalling out a parsec apart. Unfortunately, black hole pairs are very hard
to spot. Remember how I said this is the closest we’ve
seen two this big and they’re 1,400 light-years away from each other? 1 parsec is way too close for us to distinguish
two supermassive black holes apart. And now that we’ve found these two, it’s
not like we can wait around 2.5 billion years to see if they merge. I’ll probably be dead by then. But since we’ve spotted these two, we can
start to guess how common merging supermassive black holes would be. Based on their findings the scientists estimate
that optimistically there are 112 black holes whose gravitational waves we can detect from
Earth. This would make a kind of constant hum, the
scientists likened this gravitational background noise to a chorus of chirping crickets. Normally it’d be impossible to distinguish
one cricket from another. But if there’s no final parsec problem and
they can merge, it should create a massive chirp at the moment they collide. When that happens, the waves will be at frequencies
outside what LIGO and Virgo can detect. So instead, scientists will have to keep a
close eye on pulsars, special stars that send out radio waves at regular intervals. If a supermassive merger stretches or compresses
the space between us and a pulsar, the rhythm will appear to be thrown off. These frequency changes are so small, just tens to hundreds of Nanohertz, it will require close to a decade of observation to spot the weak signal hiding in the noise. They’re searching for more pairs of black
holes to refine their prediction further, but it’s possible we never detect a merger
and the final parsec problem is insurmountable after all. Thanks for watching, don’t forget to subscribe
for more videos, like Amanda’s here on what a black hole actually looks like. And while LIGO can’t detect supermassive
mergers, it was recently upgraded, making it 40% more sensitive as it continues its
hunt for merging stellar mass black holes. Well that’s all for now, I’ll see you next
time on Seeker.

100 Replies to “Scientists Just Detected Two Supermassive Black Holes on a Collision Course

  1. Hey! Thanks for watching, want to learn more about black holes? Check out this Elements episode to find out whether black holes made of light could power spaceships: https://youtu.be/CatVxw3aEc4

  2. I believe they do eventually merge or we would have found many more examples of this happing in other galaxies in our universe more often especially in rather tight Galaxy clusters where Galaxy collisions would be more common but that's just my theory.

  3. “glaciers melting in the dead of night and the superstars sucked into the super massive, glaciers melting in the dead of night and the superstars sucked into the super massive (into the supermassive)”

  4. There’s a super massive black hole in Washington DC. It’s called the IRS and it SUCKS THE LIFE out of the economy and our wallets, and just like its celestial black hole counterparts, that money is NEVER SEEN AGAIN.

  5. You really have no idea what your talking about…sure. With our primitive knowledge
    We are trying to explain the universe…
    When we can only see a fraction of it..
    Please just stop …..

  6. If gravitational wave bends time and space, time to reach earth will take less than 2.3billions years probably less due accelaration gained in the colision. Probably matters will warps to a something unexpected in the universe.

  7. Don’t worry about it.We won’t know about it
    in the next Trillion light Years.By then we will
    be dead,gone and buried in the next 50 years.

  8. The black holes were 2.5 billion light years away from us 2.5 billion years ago. Universe is expanding and so they are further away from us now. So if they collided now it would take longer then 2.5 billion years for that information to reach us. That's the weird thing about the expansion of the universe.

  9. What is reality? "Time" doesn't make any sense when what you see can be 2.5B years old. Essentially we are always looking at the past whether it's your phone screen or the super massive black hole.

  10. No, you did not detect black hole. Black holes do not exist.
    What is the instrument which is detecting black hole? the one that is said to be detecting gravity wave or something like that? But, gravity does not exist.- proven fact.
    And the definition of the so called Black Hole is meaningless when seen in the real world view. Therefore, black holes are nothing, but pure fictions. right?
    So, please do science not fiction, detecting black hole, buddy,
    Black holes are don't exist, except in, CGI, pictures.
    Right?thanks.

  11. So we get the first pic of a blackhole now we are getting pics of 2 SUPERMASSIVE blackholes circling each other lol crazy

  12. If it’s radio frequency compared to light waves, we should “see” it happen before we ever detect the radio wave “hum” of it, yes?

  13. Can someone tell me why they do this post thing where then I have to follow the link to the actual video… I don't get it and I need to understand! What's the point? Anyone…, anyone…, Bueller…, Anyone?

  14. So if they crash super hard and the debris somehow go faster than light, even though it happened billions of years ago , it could trangress time and run into us. Theoretically. So faster than light is time travel.

  15. I'm ain't no scientist but I once managed to detect one massive black hole on the collision course with earth after I was told my in- law was on her way to visit…….And I was the earth……

  16. When any matter incl another black hole merges with a black hole time dilation will stop time for the merging object at the event horizon as viewed by at distant observer. Correct? So how will it be to observe the merger? What will we see? How will radiation from just outside the event horizon be like. Extremely redshifted of course. From the event horizon itself there will be no radiation – therefore nothing to see? How will it be to observe a black hole which has merged with countless stars and gas clouds during its life? Will we see nothing. All quiet and calm, knowing that all these merging objects have stopped dead it their tracks. All noise and chaos will come from some distance from the horizon, but coming near to it will be a very peaceful nonevent. Yes?

  17. The universe is electric with 99.9% of it filled with plasma ,mainstream just make up total bullshit with their theories that contradict themselves
    https://youtu.be/EjI-HUzA03U
    https://www.youtube.com/user/ThunderboltsProject

  18. Mainstream Cosmology = Censored Cosmology.
    Electric/Plasma Universe Cosmology = Uncensored Cosmology.
    That's not a black hole, its a extremely powerful plasmoid. Also magnets show the same so called black hole when viewed under ferrocell. Ofc mainstream wont talk about ferrocell and the eerie similarities between magnet under ferrocell and black hole.

  19. So what are we going to do now? Why do we talk so much about the universe when we could not even go to Mars!!!! Please stop these scientific theories=guess scientist!!! Talking about aliens when people are starving on this planet, talking about exoplanet when we know nothing about other planets in our solar system.

  20. 1400 light years apart? They could pass each other with no interaction whatsoever. Even a supermassive black hole has very little effect 1400 light years away due to the inverse square law of gravity. There are stars orbiting Sag A* within 4 light HOURS and are not being pulled in. These things are 1400 light YEARS apart.

  21. Kerbal Space Program You’ve done it again; making everyone interested in the educational and experimental stuff… Kerbal Space Program 2 Available on XboxOne, PS4 and PC. Enjoy The conquest.

  22. Lol, there has not been observations of stellar black holes colliding! Theoretically the only way to measure a pair of black holes colliding is by detecting gravitational waves without any electromagnetic noise. Remember according to Einstein's theory nothing can escape the gravity of a black hole, not even light, and light is an electromagnetic wave. Thus electromagnetic noise, "light" cannot be detected coming from black holes. So the observation of black holes colliding could never happen!

  23. Maybe it's all reoccurring? Black holes compact over time until everything has been consumed, them boom! Another big bang and life starts again?

  24. "Its not like we can sit arround and wait 2.5billion years to see if they merge
    I will probably be dead by that"
    PROBABLY!!!
    2:30

  25. Thanks! This makes me wonder whether the processes involved have anything in common with a standing wave. 𝓡𝓲𝓴𝓴𝓲 𝓣𝓲𝓴𝓴𝓲.

  26. You know what's what is amazing? That we can get all that just In our live time, even if u stay at home 4k 8k hdr 65" YouTube and u can do anything, for example u can watch silly movies or like I did in 3 months I watch 200 lessons from PhD×3 guy and I changed entirely how I see, or understand world i watched them repeatedly until I understand it entirely. Maybe I don't have PhD but I had a very good teacher and I understand physics on every aspect and level I didn't count myself but I believe that many people did them so I don't have to ofcourse I can do these if I need to or challenged. We live in very very Very interesting times From My birth till now, it's like 42 years reality changed entirely our understanding of how world works and definitely get much bigger and weirder than we ever imagined double triple star systems magnetars black holes so big that even our imagination failed bh then massive bh super massive bh ultra massive bh and my own class I call them monstrous black holes like Ton618 ….. 66 000 000 000 solar masses? WHAT?!? even bigger!!! but they wait for confirmation cause so huge that need to be triple check, bh double systems pulsar's quasar's dwarfs ……. billions of billions galaxies billions to trillion stars in every galaxy not to mention planet's….. moons, nova's supernovae's ultranovae's big bang, …… bootes void dark matter dark energy dark flow …. relativity quantum virtual physics and how it all works together its mind blowing lifetime journey reality that u have at reach of your hand. Now I can watch videos like this with deep understanding every aspect of the film and have own ideas about everything. I know that if didnt count doesn't exist. But i Don't care cause I believe everybody lives in own universe and when we interact it's getting randomized….. ehhh internet ……

  27. In the future. We will be able to detect gravitational waves with a phone app. That miles of equipment condensed into a few inches lol

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