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Supermassive Black Holes in Close Tango

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Supermassive Black Holes Discovered in Close Tango


Astronomers have found what could be the closest known pair of supermassive black holes detected via direct imaging, orbiting each other only a light-year apart.

If you think your life is busy, imagine the life of Mrk 533. This active galaxy is the largest and brightest member of its group, and its tidal tails are testament to its busy social life — interactions with its companions are literally tearing the galaxy in all directions.

One of those interactions may have come a little too close. New observations reported in Nature Astronomy reveal a double radio source at the center of Mrk 533, possibly the emission from a close pair of supermassive black holes separated by only a light-year in their orbits. The closest pair of directly imaged supermassive black holes known until now, discovered in the galaxy 0402+379, orbits 24 light-years apart.

arrow3.gif  Read More: Sky and Telescope


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