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Black Hole Pair Sets Proximity Record (only about 24-light-years between them ) on Yahoo ^ | 5/1/06 | Ker Than

Posted on 05/01/2006 4:32:46 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

Astronomers have detected a pair of supermassive black holes that are closer together than any previously discovered.

The two giants are dancing around each other with only about 24-light-years between them and are expected to collide in the very distant future.

"That's more than 100 times closer than any pair found before," said astronomer Cristina Rodriguez from the University of New Mexico and Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela.

Rodriguez was part of the team made the discovery using the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a continent wide system of 10 linked radio-telescopes. The finding was announced today.

Black holes are regions of space where mass is concentrated so tightly that gravity prevents matter and even light from escaping. Researchers can't see them, but they infer their presence based on the activity of stars and other material in the vicinity.

The collective mass of the two newly discovered objects is equal to more than 150 million Suns. Prior to the new discovery, the closest confirmed pairs of supermassive black holes were at least 4,500 light-years apart.

Galactic mergers

The black hole pair sits at the heart of 0402+379, an elliptical galaxy located about 750 million light-years from Earth. Astronomers think the two black holes once belonged to separate galaxies but were brought together when those galaxies merged sometime in the distant past.

The new discovery will be detailed in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal.

Galactic mergers are an important part of theories on galaxy evolution, and astronomers think black hole pairs that can form in such instances can exert a powerful influence on a galaxy's development.

"Such black hole collisions undoubtedly are important processes, and we need to understand them," said study team member Gregory Taylor, also of the University of New Mexico. "Finding ever-closer pairs of supermassive black holes is the first step in that process."

Gravity waves

Scientists think that when black holes collide, they generate enormous amounts of energy—more than all the stars in the universe combined according to one recent model—and send out gravitational waves rippling through space-time in every direction.

Such gravitational waves could be detected with the ground based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) or the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) space mission.

The researchers are currently using the VLBA to conduct a large survey of compact radio-emitting objects in order to find more supermassive black hole pairs.

TOPICS: Astronomy
KEYWORDS: blackhole; gravitywaves; lightyears; pair; proximity; record; vlba

1 posted on 05/01/2006 4:32:51 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

If you ever thought your neighborhood sucked.

2 posted on 05/01/2006 4:34:47 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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To: NormsRevenge

We're doomed!

3 posted on 05/01/2006 4:36:34 PM PDT by Kenny Bunkport
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To: cripplecreek


4 posted on 05/01/2006 4:45:05 PM PDT by NonLinear (He's dead, Jim)
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To: NonLinear

Women and minorities to be hardest hit...

5 posted on 05/01/2006 6:44:21 PM PDT by bt_dooftlook (Democrats - the "No Child/Left/Behind" Party)
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To: NormsRevenge; KevinDavis


6 posted on 05/01/2006 6:45:45 PM PDT by MikefromOhio (aka MikeinIraq)
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To: NormsRevenge
24 light years? Not even close to the record.
Jesse and Al

7 posted on 05/02/2006 9:56:34 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: SunkenCiv

I knew someone would make that connection.. lol

8 posted on 05/02/2006 9:58:01 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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Second black hole found at the centre of our Galaxy | 11.09.04 | Mark Peplow
Posted on 11/09/2004 12:51:00 PM EST by 4kevin

"A second black hole lurks at the centre of our Galaxy, according to astronomers who have watched a cluster of stars spinning around it. Just three years ago, astronomers confirmed that the Milky Way revolves around a supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A*, which is about 2.6 million times more massive than the Sun. But now a much smaller black hole, just 1,300 times our Sun's mass, has been found orbiting about three light years away from its supermassive cousin."

Black holes are double trouble for galaxy
The new scientist | 11/20/02 | Hazel Muir
Posted on 11/20/2002 11:23:34 AM EST by 1bigdictator

Black holes actually green: official | Tuesday 25th April 2006 | Lester Haines
Posted on 04/26/2006 2:59:58 AM EDT by nickcarraway

Meet the Indian who took on Stephen Hawking | August 03, 2004 10:06 IST |
Posted on 08/03/2004 1:16:56 AM EDT by CarrotAndStick

Lab fireball 'may be black hole'
BBC News | 3/17/2005
Posted on 03/17/2005 3:59:33 PM EST by flashbunny

9 posted on 05/02/2006 10:04:19 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: NormsRevenge

Hey, it's great to be first, because, as you said, it was definitely going to happen. ;')

10 posted on 05/02/2006 10:12:16 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: SunkenCiv

I am in awe of the restraint of many here to not make another connection or two on this thread. lol ;-)

11 posted on 05/02/2006 10:16:58 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: NormsRevenge
this may come in handy.

12 posted on 05/02/2006 10:27:34 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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