Earlier in January 2015, it was reported that the two supermassive black holes in the Virgo constellation will collide with each other in million or so years. Now, Columbia astronomers have submitted their new research report to Nature.com where they estimated the collision time at approximately 100,000 years from now.
According to scientists from Caltech and NASA in their previous report, when these supermassive black hole collisions occur, the phenomenon will end in an epic, violent explosion that will destroy the galaxy as well as it will send ripples through the space-time fabric of the universe.
The black holes mentioned in the research (quasar PG 1302-102) are located billions of years away from the Earth, and before the ripple could reach the Earth, it would have to deal with the billions of other galaxies floating around the universe, many of them come in between the Milky Way (our galaxy) and these colliding black holes of two galaxies.
Previously, it was mentioned that these two galaxies and their central black holes are moving towards each other at a distance of 20 light years. However, the new research from Columbia University states that these galaxies are spiraling around each other at a much smaller distance than earlier reported, i.e., only one light-week.
“This is the closest we’ve come to observing two black holes on their way to a massive collision,” said Columbia’s Zoltan Haiman, senior author of the study. “Watching this process reach its culmination can tell us whether black holes and galaxies grow at the same rate, and ultimately test a fundamental property of space-time: its ability to carry vibrations called gravitational waves, produced in the last, most violent, stage of the merger.”
According to Zoltan Haiman, when the collision reaches its most violent phase, the explosion intensity will be equivalent to that of 100 million supernova explosions. Imagine the blast of a tank full of TNT with the mass of 100 quintillion Earths (1 quintillion = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000). Now, just imagine the shock waves from the explosion that would be sending ripples through the universe’s space-time fabric.
Scientists optimistically expected that with such researches by following other studies, astronomers could observe similar gigantic collision of similar galaxies (and their black holes) in the universe before 2030. We hope, it won’t be near the Earth.
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