Supermassive black hole at our galaxy’s center may have a friend

earthsky.org | 12/15/2019 | EarthSky Voices
crazycool12crazycool12 (Posted by) Level 4
Click For Photo: https://en.es-static.us/upl/2019/12/2-black-holes-300x169.jpg

An artist’s conception of two black holes entwined in a gravitational tango. Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ SwRI/ MSSS/ Christopher Go.

Do supermassive black holes have friends? The nature of galaxy formation suggests that the answer is yes, and in fact, pairs of supermassive black holes should be common in the universe.

Astrophysicist - Range - Problems - Astrophysics - Formation

I am an astrophysicist and am interested in a wide range of theoretical problems in astrophysics, from the formation of the very first galaxies to the gravitational interactions of black holes, stars and even planets. Black holes are intriguing systems, and supermassive black holes and the dense stellar environments that surround them represent one of the most extreme places in our universe.

The supermassive black hole that lurks at the center of our galaxy, called Sgr A*, has a mass of about 4 million times that of our sun. A black hole is a place in space where gravity is so strong that neither particles or light can escape from it. Surrounding Sgr A* is a dense cluster of stars. Precise measurements of the orbits of these stars allowed astronomers to confirm the existence of this supermassive black hole and to measure its mass. For more than 20 years, scientists have been monitoring the orbits of these stars around the supermassive black hole. Based on what we’ve seen, my colleagues and I show that if there is a friend there, it might be a second black hole nearby that is at least 100,000 times the mass of the sun.

Center - Galaxy - Hole - Region - Sagittarius

At the center of our galaxy is a supermassive black hole in the region known as Sagittarius A. It has a mass of about 4 million times that of our sun. Image via ESA–C. Carreau.

Almost every galaxy, including our Milky Way, has a supermassive black hole at its heart, with masses of millions to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: earthsky.org
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