Black Hole: Pulsing light from two merging galaxies indicate Birth of Binaries

Astronomers representing the University of Maryland are saying that a pulsing light in the space might stand as the testimony of the theory that suggests that black holes present in the center of two merging galaxies will eventually turn into gravitationally locked twins. The other name used for these twins are binaries.

Prof. Suvi Gezari, one of the main authors of the study, said that he and his team believe that they have managed to observe a couple of super-massive black holes located closer to each other than ever before.

Prof. Gezari added that based on the theory of general relativity by Einstein, they are assuming that the two black holes are so close to each other that they have started emitting gravitational waves.


For those who don’t know: when the black holes start feasting on matters around it, those matters heat up and accelerate up to a point where they start emitting energy in colossal amounts. This action of the matters results in formation of the brightest sources of energy found in a galaxy; astronomers refer to these sources as “quasars”.

Scientists say that when two black holes orbit as a binary pair, consumption of matters usually take place in a cyclical manner. This means, the quasar thus formed dims and brightens periodically.

The astronomers at the University of Maryland began their search for a similar phenomenon in Hawaii; they used a medium deep survey telescope called the Pan-STARRS1 for making their mission successful.

During the study, the researchers came across an enormous black hole containing around ten billion solar masses. The quasar thus formed was found to be emitting flashes of light periodically i.e. once in every 542 days.

Quasars usually do not emit light in a rhythmic manner. Thus, according to the researchers associated with this particular study, the clock-like accuracy showcased by this quasar in emitting light stands as the testimony of the fact that the black hole associated with it is actually a couple of entities forming a binary system.

Researchers are saying that as the size of telescopes is increasing almost with every passing day allowing them to survey much bigger areas in space, soon we might see discovery of thousands of such binary systems.