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A new analysis provides support for a decades-old prediction that "supermassive" black holes at the centres of galaxies are surrounded by many smaller ones.
However, previous searches of the Milky Way's centre, where the nearest supermassive black hole is located, have found little evidence for this.
Details appear in the journal Nature.
Charles Hailey from Columbia University in New York and colleagues used archival data from Nasa's Chandra X-ray telescope to come to their conclusions.
They report the discovery of a dozen inactive and low-mass "binary systems", in which a star orbits an unseen companion - the black hole.
The supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), is surrounded by a halo of gas and dust that provides the perfect breeding ground for the birth of massive stars. These stars live, die and could turn into black holes there.
originally posted by: skunkape23
What happens when a black-hole gets sucked into a black-hole?
Galaxies and dark matter go hand in hand; you typically don't find one without the other. So when researchers uncovered a galaxy, known as NGC1052-DF2, that is almost completely devoid of the stuff, they were shoc Read more at: phys.org...
The star is called S0-2, one of a class of stars known as S-stars (not to be confused with S-type stars) that closely orbit Sgr A*, which has an estimated mass of around 4.3 million Suns.
But S0-2 is special. It's one of two stars that zoom in closest to the black hole in its elliptical orbit, which means it's likely to show the effects of the black hole's gargantuan gravitational pull when it swings around once every 16 years.
According to general relativity, light affected by a strong gravitational field will get stretched out, or redshifted. The orbit will also shift, ever so slightly changing trajectory.
As S0-2 moves in for its closest approach at 17 light-hours away from the centre of the galaxy (about four times the distance between the Sun and Neptune), accelerating to 3 percent of the speed of light, researchers with the UCLA's Galactic Center Group will be carefully looking to see if these changes take place.
If they do, they'll have confirmed general relativity once again.
Over email, [Chuck] Hailey told me it "would be a miracle" if scientists detected a gravitational wave that originated in our own galaxy, because capturing these waves is so rare. But, he said, "by getting solid numbers of black holes in the center of our galaxy, and the distribution of those black holes, which we have now observed, that information can be 'spun' by theorists into a deeper understanding" about the nature of gravitational wave events in other galaxies.
"After all, the Milky Way is an average type galaxy, so if we see lots of black holes snuggled up against the supermassive one here, we should see them in the centers of many other galaxies," he told me. "So theorists will use our results to particularize their predictions of how many of these exotic binaries (and [gravitational wave] events) will happen in other galaxies so the can make much firmer predictions than they could otherwise make."
originally posted by: darepairman
I always kind of thought that there have been big bangs before this last one, Black holes eat and merge and when the mass gets so large it goes bang again and starts all over. forever is along time.