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Black holes: Astronomers witness flare from merging black holes
Despite being known as a black hole, this space object still manages to catch the attention of astronomers because of the extremely bright light it produces. Recently, astronomers were able to witness for the first time, a flare coming from merging black holes.
According to a recent study in 2019, two black holes were found merging in the deep regions of space, and with their merging came an extremely bright flare-up, the beam of light visible through the universe. This research is especially significant, knowing that black holes, as its name implies, do not have light. It should be noted that when black holes merge into one, they create a ripple in spacetime which is also referred to as a gravitational wave.
This discovery was made by researchers from the National Science Foundation Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. According to Matthew Graham of the California Institute of Technology Zwicky Transient Facility, the flare-up most likely originated from the merging of two supermassive black holes. However, more research appears to be needed before coming to the definitive explanation.
“The supermassive black hole was burbling along for years before this more abrupt flare. The flare occurred on the night timescale, and in the right location, to be coincident with the gravitational-wave event,” said Graham.
Dr. Nicholas Ross of the University of Edinburg expressed excitement at the discovery. Dr. Ross explained that the merging of black holes would have tremendous implications in the field of physics.
Previously, astronomers found what appears to be an extremely massive quasar, referred to as J1007+2115 also known as Pōniuāʻena, which translates to “unseen spinning source of creation, surrounded with brilliance.” This quasar was detected by astronomers at Maunakea in Hawaii, its name coming from the suggestions of 30 Hawaiian teachers. Astronomers were searching for the most distant quasars in space when they came across this one.
This particular quasar is so far the most distant or earliest celestial object to contain a black hole with the mass of over a billion suns. This quasar is so distant that it took 13.02 billion years just to be able to get to Earth, which suggests it started its journey 700 years following the Big Bang.