The two closest black holes to Earth are colliding – the pair is likely to become a supermassive black hole.
Earth’s closet blackholes are on a collision course and will likely form a supermassive black hole, with researchers salivating over the possibility.
Fortunately for life on Earth, the two regions of space are 89 million light-years apart.
Despite the vast distance, they are still the closest black hole to Earth and this proximity indicates that they are moving towards each other and will collide and merge – forming a supermassive black hole.
The last closest supermassive black hole pairing is found at a distance of 470 million light years from Earth.
Strasbourg Observatory astronomer France Dr Karina Vogel said there is valuable information that can be learned by observing celestial objects.
“The system contains the two closest supermassive black holes ever discovered. One of these massive black holes is at the center of the galaxy where we normally expect them to,” she told Newsweek.
“The second black hole is not at the center, but is slightly offset from it. We have never found a supermassive black hole pair at such a short distance from each other.”
Space experts believe that there is a supermassive black hole at the centers of most galaxies. The supermassive black hole in our galaxy is Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*).
Dr Vogel explained that the discovery is important because even if these black holes do not collide and merge for at least 250 million years, it gives researchers the opportunity to study systems before they merge.
“We don’t yet understand how black holes increase their mass. One way might be through mergers with supermassive black holes from other galaxies,” she said.
“However, observing this process on its own is very difficult because most galaxies are so far away from it, and when they are very far away no one can measure the exact mass of these black holes.