A rare trio of supermassive black holes is at the clash got caught.
Three of the slightly twisted monsters sniff shoulder to shoulder in SDSS J084905.51 + 111447.2, A system of three merging galaxies that are about 1 billion light-years from Earth, a new study reports.
"At the time, we were just looking for pairs of black holes, and this through our selection method" We've stumbled upon this amazing system, "said lead author Ryan Pfeifle of George Mason University, Virginia in a statement . "This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system of active supermassive black hole feeding."
Images: Black Holes of the Universe
Making the epic find was not easy, observations were made with several instruments, and many civic scientists helped.
The track began with the SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) telescope in New Mexico, with the SDSS J084905.51 + 111447.2 volunteers from the Citizen Science project Galaxy Zoo used these images to describe the system as an ongoing galaxy fusion, such as the u sign.
Next, the researchers studied data collected using NASA's WISE (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer) spacecraft. WISE spewed out a lot of infrared light from the system in a phase of the merger in which more than one of the supermassive black holes was supposed to rapidly accumulate material.
Further observations in X-rays and optical light sealed the deal. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory detected strong X-ray sources near the individual centers of the growing galaxies, suggesting that much gas and dust were consumed there – a sign of black hole feeding.
The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) NASA spacecraft also detected evidence of gas and dust orbiting one of the supermassive black holes. The optical light data collected by the SDSS and the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona supported the assumption that all three black holes were active.
"By using these large observatories, we have found a new way to identify triple supermassive black holes," said Pfeifle. Each telescope gives us a different indication of what is going on in these systems. We hope to be able to expand our work in order to find further triples using the same technology. "
The distance from each supermassive black hole to the nearest neighbor ranges from 10,000 light-years to 30,000 light-years, said members of the study team will shrink because the black holes apparently have to fuse just like their parent galaxies now.  Astronomers already know a bit about how black holes collide, and finally the Laser The Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected the gravitational waves of a series of black hole fusions, but a triple system probably works a bit differently The traditional fusion duo, the researchers said.
Example: The nearby presence of a third supermassive black hole should cause its two neighbors to converge much more quickly.
"This could be a solution to a theoretical puzzle # 39; last parsec problem & # 39; two supermassive black holes can approach each other within a few light-years, but due to the excess energy they have in their orbits, they would have to be pulled slightly inward to unite, "officials from the Chandra mission wrote in the same statement. "The influence of a third black hole, as in SDSS J0849 + 1114, could eventually bring them together."
Neither LIGO nor Europe's similar Virgo project can detect the gravitational waves produced by merging supermassive black holes. The frequencies involved are outside the range of LIGO and Virgo, which are tuned to gravitational waves generated by much smaller star-mass black holes.
The new study appears in the latest issue of The Astrophysical Journal You can download a Preprint of the paper k read without a hitch on arXiv.org.
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