« The new cosmic microwave background | Main | Scientific Role of the James Webb Space Telescope »

January 12, 2011

Astronomers discover close-knit pairs of massive black holes

Astronomers recently discovered 16 black holes that are unusually close together. Astronomers are getting closer to figuring out what happens when black holes merge together. It is thought that when these black holes merge, that they produce large gravitational waves, but these waves have yet to be detected. "These close pairs are a missing link between the wide binary systems seen previously and the merging black-hole pairs at even smaller separations that we believe must be there." says S. George Djorgovsk. For the entire article go to:

Images of some of the merging systems are available at http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~george/bbh.

Posted by pjwake at January 12, 2011 09:28 PM


I wonder what it would mean if they did find gravitational waves. Are they trying to discover the formation of gravity?

Posted by: emmatula at January 13, 2011 11:15 AM

I was curious as to what the current belief of black holes merging together was. So I did some research and I found this video.


What is really interesting from this simulation is that it shows gravitational waves bring created then disappearing as the black holes get together. I wonder what causes the gravitational waves to be emitted.

Posted by: jeffkong at January 13, 2011 09:37 PM

Where are these black holes located, exactly? I was under the impression that black holes were generally located at the center of every galaxy. So does this technically mean that 16 galaxies are merging? From the YouTube animation Jeff posted, it only offered the example of the effects of two merging black holes. As did most of the other articles I just read on the topic. My understanding of the gravitational waves released isn't completely solid, but are there any significant differences between the merging of 16 black holes versus two?

Posted by: kailjoyb at January 14, 2011 09:32 PM

Black holes are such mysteries to the world of space. This merging concept seems particularly interesting because we know very little about it. on another note I was also curious as to how astronomers are able to detect black holes

Posted by: chomingc at January 24, 2011 10:08 PM

Login to leave a comment. Create a new account.