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Astronomers discover signs of supermassive black holes



New research, published Wednesday, October 24, in the Monthly Notices journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, has found evidence of a large number of double supermassive black holes, likely precursors of giant black hole collisions. This confirms the current understanding of cosmological evolution – that galaxies and their associated black holes merge over time to form ever larger galaxies and black holes.

Astronomers from the University of Hertfordshire, along with an international team of scientists, looked at radio maps of powerful beam sources and found signs that would normally be present when approaching near black holes.

Before black holes merge, they form a binary black hole in which the two black holes circle. Gravitational wave telescopes have been able to detect the merging of smaller black holes since 201

5 by measuring the strong bursts of gravitational waves emitted when binary black holes join, but current technology can not be used to demonstrate the presence of supermassive binary black holes.

Supermassive black holes emit strong jets. When supermassive binary black holes orbit, this causes the beam emanating from the nucleus of a galaxy to periodically change direction. University of Hertfordshire astronomers studied the direction these jets are emitted and deviations in these directions; They compared the direction of the jets with those of the radio lobes (which store all the particles that ever passed through the beam channels) to show that this method can be used to indicate the presence of supermassive binary black holes.

Dr. Martin Krause, lead author and lecturer in astronomy at the University of Hertfordshire, said, "We studied the jets for a long time with computer simulations in this first systematic comparison with high-resolution radio maps of the strongest We were amazed at signatures in three quarters of the sources

The fact that the strongest jets are associated with binary black holes could have important consequences for the formation of stars in galaxies; Stars are formed by cold gas, rays heat this gas and suppress the formation of stars. A jet that always runs in the same direction heats only a limited amount of gas in its environment.

Jets made of binary black holes, however, change their direction continuously. Therefore, they can heat much more gas, suppress the formation of stars much more efficiently and thus help to keep the number of stars in galaxies within the observed limits.

Research Report: "How Frequently Do Supermassive Binary Radiation Close Black Holes in Strong Jet Sources?" MGH Krause, SS Shabala, MJ Hardcastle et al., 2018, September 21, Monthly News from the Royal Astronomical Society [19659009] Related Links

University of Hertfordshire

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