When they merge, space and time will shake
By Mohana Basu
Scientists from the University of Manchester in the UK have discovered a pair of supermassive black holes locked in a cosmic waltz 9 billion light-years away.
The two giant bodies orbiting each other are each hundred millions of times more massive than our sun, and the objects are separated by a distance roughly 50 times greater than that between our sun and Pluto.
When the pair merges in roughly 10,000 years, the titanic collision is expected to shake space and time itself, sending gravitational waves across the universe. This is now the second known candidate for a pair of supermassive black holes caught in the act of merging. The first candidate pair is circling every nine years as opposed to the new pair, which takes two years.
Fast radio bursts are unpredictable, extremely short flashes of light from space. Astronomers have struggled to understand them ever since they were first discovered in 2007. So far, they have only ever been seen by radio telescopes.
Researchers made high-precision measurements of a repeating burst source discovered in January 2020 in the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. They traced the bursts to the outskirts of the nearby spiral galaxy Messier 81 (M 81), about 12 million light-years away. That makes this the closest-ever detection of a source of fast radio bursts.
(Courtesy: The Print)