Massive Black Holes Discovered In Quasar Nearest To Earth

Posted: Aug 28 2015, 9:30pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Massive Black Holes Discovered in Quasar Nearest to Earth

The two supermassive black holes at the heart of Markarian 231 indicate a binary black hole. The discovery will help gain insight to massive and luminous celestial objects, quasars

The extremely brightest object in the universe has two massive black holes inside it.

A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese associate discovered two massive holes -- one larger and the other smaller one in the core of Markarian 231, the closest quasar to the earth. The larger black hole is almost 150 million times more massive than the sun while the partner is four million times the mass of the sun. Both holes are revolving around each other and according to calculations; it takes 1.2 years to complete an orbit.

Scientists used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observations to prove the existence of the holes. These holes indicate a binary black hole, a system in which two black holes orbit around each other, also suggesting that holes gather their masses through the violent merger of galaxies. 

The galaxy Markarian 231 was discovered in 1969 and is located 600 million light years away from our planet. The holes found in the quasar can lead to more fascinating information about quasars, the ultraviolent light coming out of them as well as the formation of galaxies.

“We’re 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 systemically search binary black holes via the nature of their ultraviolent light emission.” Xinyu Dai professor in University of Oklahoma said. He collaborated with Youjun Lu of National Astronomical Observatories of China for the project.

“The structure of our universe, such as those giant galaxies and clusters of galaxies, grows by merging smaller systems into larger ones and binary black holes are natural consequences of these mergers of galaxies.” Dai said.

The two holes found at the heart of quasar will collide and turn into a supermassive black hole inside a quasar over the times.

Source: Eurekalert 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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