Scientists have noticed the best evidence of a trio of supermassive black holes in apparently merging galaxies, new paper reports.
Theories of the evolution of the universe predict that galaxies and huge black holes in their centers evolve over time, fusing with each other. But there are difficult scenarios where there are three supermassive black holes in the center of large galaxies. Understanding these systems can help clarify how galaxies evolve more generally.
"This would really open our understanding of how galactic mergers affect supermassive black holes and vice versa," study author Ryan Pfeifle, PhD student at George Mason University,
when s immobile black holes begin matter and emit radiation become active galactic nuclei. This can happen when two galaxies approach each other. Despite their importance, the fusion of galaxies with double-active galactic nuclei is difficult to find, with fewer than 30 documented candidates according to of document in The Astrophysical Journal.
The scientists behind this paper are searching for dual active galactic nuclei by first sifting through infrared fusion galaxy data taken from the WISE space telescope. They then further examined the x -high data for these sources from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and NuSTAR X-ray Space Telescope as well as infrared Big Binocular Telescope and Skyan optical data from the Sky study.
One of these sources, called SDSS J0849 + 1114, appeared to have all the hallmarks of a trio of active galactic nuclei at the center of the merging galaxies es. This included three X-ray sources, one in the center of each of the three galaxies, and an infrared-smoking rifle on one of the black holes sucking matter . Pfeifle said that combined, this is the strongest evidence of the 1945 trio of supermassive black holes in unifying galaxies.
SDSS J0849 + 1114 is exciting for more than its rarity, since systems like these can help explain why supermassive black holes merge at all. There is a long-standing astrophysical problem called "Parsek's final problem. “W a hen two supermassive black holes approach one another, begin to orbit and approach, losing energy by friction with the surrounding stars and gas. But since they are approximately a parsec or 3.26 light years apart, simulations show that they take a more stable orbit, and it will take more than the age of the universe to actually they merge. But given that galactic mergers are part of the scientists' theory of the evolution of the universe, these black holes must somehow merge.
The introduction of a third supermassive black hole to a binary pair of supermassive black hole could provide the necessary omph to allow the merger to occur in a more reasonable time range.
"They make a pretty compelling case that this system is a triple supermassive black hole merger," says Kiara Mingarelli, a research fellow at the Fatiron Institute for Computational Astrophysics, . "Seeing such a system in real life in the universe is encouraging."
Scientists are currently hunting for evidence of space-time ripples created by supermassive binary black holes through pulsar synchronizing arrays  changes in the speed at which a dense, rotating neutron star pulse. These new results are encouraging, as they provide a way for the supermassive black holes to merge and give hope that experiments with a pulsating synchronization array, such as the experiment NANOGrav will find something. However, Mingarelli said that requiring three supermassive black holes to see these waves could delay the results of the pulsar synchronization period by several years. We hope there are some other mechanisms that allow binary supermassive black holes to merge without a third party, she said.
Pfeifle stated that there is no guarantee that these black holes will merge as this will require a better understanding of the movement of the system.
However, scientists now have a set of tools that can find for these triple supermassive black hole systems. Pfeifle said the team will continue to look for more examples to develop a broader understanding of them.