The unexpected black hole trio was discovered through many different observations of the universe, including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Initially, astronomers intended to study pairs with black holes, but were pleasantly surprised to find three so close to each other. The three black holes are supermassive, which means they are hundreds of thousands to billions of times heavier than our Sun. According to NASA and Harvard University astronomers Chandra, the discovery is the best evidence of a troika merger.
Ryan Pfeifle of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, says: "We were only looking for pairs of black holes in time, and yet we came across this amazing system through our breeding technique.
"This is the strongest evidence found so far of such a triple system for the active feeding of supermassive black holes."
So far, scientists have seen examples of collision and merging of two black holes into larger bodies.
The merger of three supermassive black holes is considered an extremely rare event.
The discovery can now open the door to understanding how the biggest black holes are in the universe
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Black Hole Collision: Astronomers Find a System of Three Black Hole Collision
Black Hole Collisions: The super-massive that our holes can be billions of times heavier than the sun
The black hole trio was found billions of light years from planet Earth.
Astronomers summarized the SDSS black hole system J084905.51 + 111447.2 or SDSS J0849 + 1114 for short
This is the strongest evidence found so far for such a triple system
After the system was introduced, civilian scientists working on the Galaxy Zoo project classified SDSS J0849 + 1114 as a group. of colliding galaxies.
NASA's Infrared Study of Broadband then went in to investigate whether it emits infrared light from black holes.
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Astronomers then followed by observations from the Chandra telescope and the Big binocular telescope (BinocularTB) in Arizona.
Chandra's contribution revealed powerful X-rays emitted from the system that served as evidence of the consumption of black hole material.
Additional observations made by NASA Nuclear Spectroscopy (NuSTAR) discovered huge amounts of star gas and dust around one of the black holes.
Study co-author Christina Manzano-King of the University of California at Riverside said, "Optical spectra contain a wealth of galaxy information.
"They are commonly used to identify actively accumulating supermassive black holes and can reflect the impact they have on the galaxies they inhabit."
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Black Hole Collision: The Best Evidence for Black Hole Merger
Supermassive black holes the trio are usually difficult to find.
Black holes are surrounded by gas and dust as a roof, obscured by Earth-based telescopes.
Infrared and X-ray observatories, however, can peek directly through the cloudy clouds, choosing radiation signatures and invisible wavelengths of light.
Mr. Mason, a PhD student, believes the discovery will help other astronomers find more triple black holes in the universe.
He said, "We hope to expand our work to find more threes using the same technique."
How big are the black holes? What kinds of black holes are there?
Black holes are classified into three hey categories: primary, star, and supermassive black holes.
Astronomers also suspect that there is a fourth, medium-sized category called intermediate black holes.
The primary black holes are the smallest of the bundle, no larger than one atom but weighing more than a mountain.
Dealer black holes are the most common type and typically weigh up to 20 times the Sun in space only 10 miles.
The supermassive black holes are the largest and heaviest. , weighing millions of times more than the Sun in an area of solar system size.