The unexpected black hole trio was discovered by many different observations of the universe, including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Originally, astronomers wanted to explore pairs of black holes, but were pleasantly surprised to find three so close together. The three black holes are supermassive, which means that they are hundreds of thousands to billions of times heavier than our sun. According to Chandra's astronomers at NASA and the University of Harvard, the discovery to date is the best evidence of the amalgamation of triplets.
Ryan Pfeifle of George Mason University of Fairfax, Va., Said, "We were just looking for pairs of black holes in The Time, and yet we came across this amazing system through our selection technique.
"This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system of active supermassive black hole feeding."
So far, scientists have seen examples of two black holes colliding and merging into larger bodies.
The fusing of three supermassive black holes was considered a very rare event.
The discovery could now open doors to understanding how the largest black holes in the universe were born.
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Collisions with Black Holes: Astronomers have found a system of three colliding black holes
The trio of black holes was found a billion light-years from planet Earth
Astronomers have called the black-hole system SDSS J084905.51 + 111447.2 or SDSS J0849 + 1114 for short.
This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system.
After mapping the system, civic scientists working on the Galaxy Zoo project classified SDSS J0849 + 1114 as a group of colliding galaxies.
NASA's Wide Field Infrared Explorer explored the infrared light emitted by the black holes.
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astronomer ever observed with the Chandra Telescope and the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona.
Chandra's article revealed strong X-rays emanating from the system, which served as evidence that material was consumed by black holes.
Further observations from NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) found large amounts of stellar gas and dust near one of the black holes.
Christina Manzano-King, co-author of the University of California, Riverside, said: "Optical spectra contain a wealth of information about a galaxy.
"They are often used to identify actively increasing supermassive black holes and to reflect the influence they have on the galaxies in which they live."
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Supermassive black holes like the trio are usually hard to find.
The black holes surround themselves in gas and dust like a shroud that hides them from earthbound telescopes.
Infrared and X-ray observatories, however, can look directly through the murky clouds by detecting radiation signatures and invisible wavelengths of light.
Mr Mason, a The doctoral candidate believes that the discovery will help other astronomers locate more than three times black holes across the universe.
He said, "We hope to expand our work to find more threefold with the same technique."
How Big Are Black Holes? ? What types of black holes are there?
Black holes are divided into three categories ies: Primordial, stellar and supermassive black holes.
Astronomers also suspect that there is a fourth, medium-sized category of so-called middle black holes.
Primordial black holes are the smallest of the group and no larger than a single atom but weigh more than one mountain.
Plate black holes are the most common species, weighing up to 20 times more than the sun over an area of only 16 kilometers in diameter.
Supermassive black holes are the largest and heaviest and weighed millions of times more than the sun on an area the size of the solar system.