Scientists discover a binary black hole system in earth's nearest neighboring quasar.
According to Popular Science, researchers have recently discovered not one, but two supermassive black holes in a quasar near earth. This quasar, named Markarian 231, is the closest quasar to the earth. The two black holes were discovered by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and it provides the necessary data to confirm the existence of binary black holes.
In this latest study, the researchers examined the ultraviolet radiation emitted from the center of Markarian 231. Then, they applied a model to that spectrum of the galaxy. As a result of this modeling, the scientists were able to predict the existence of the binary black holes in Mrk 231.
“We are extremely excited about this finding because it not only shows the existence of a close binary black hole in Mrk 231, but also paves a new way to systematically search binary black holes via the nature of their ultravioelet light emission,” said Youjun Lu, the researcher who developed the model.
Galaxies and clusters of galaxies grow by combining a series of smaller systems into larger ones. As a result of these galactic mergers, binary black holes appear. In this instance, over time the two black holes will collide and merge, eventually forming a new quasar with a supermassive black hole.