Astronomers in Chile said Tuesday that they discovered the closest pair of supermassive black holes to the Earth ever seen while using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT).
According to a report on the Phys.org website, the black holes are 1,600 light years apart and 89 million light years from Earth.
Scientists said the gap between the pair of black holes decays in time and turns into a single black hole.
1/ Using our VLT, astronomers have uncovered the closest pair of supermassive black holes yet, in a galaxy about 89 million light-years away
Credit: @ESO/Voggel et al.; ESO/Shanks et al
Acknowledgement: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit pic.twitter.com/pTL4Kl7REE
— ESO (@ESO) November 30, 2021
One of the black holes, located in the constellation Aquarius (NGC 7727), is located in a galaxy, while it is reported to have a mass 154 million times that of the sun.
Researchers noted that the mass of black holes is calculated by looking at how they are affected by the gravitational force with the movement of stars around them.
It is the first time that a pair of supermassive black holes has been calculated by that method and the number of other known supermassive black holes could increase 30%, said experts.
*Writing by Merve Berker
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