It is "the best evidence yet of a trio of supermassive black holes in apparently merging galaxies", as the new study reports. Chandra x-ray telescope NuSTAR NASA has also found evidence of large quantities of gas and dust around the black holes of the system.
"Dual and triple black holes are exceedingly rare", said co-author Shobita Satyapal, also of George Mason, "but such systems are actually a natural outcome of galaxy mergers, which we think is how galaxies grow and evolve". "Here is the strongest evidence but realized for the form of triple machine of actively feeding supermassive dusky holes". The initial observation of the system was done by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) telescope. With the help of Amateur astronomers involved in the project called the Galaxy Zoo, he was marked as a system of colliding galaxies.
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission also provided data that revealed an intense glow of the system in an infrared light telescope. WISE and Chandra (which see in X-ray and infrared spectra, respectively) can bypass this challenge since infrared and X-ray pierce clouds of gas with a lot more ease than optical light does. Then to follow up further, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory showed bright light points at the centre of each of the three colliding galaxies, right where astronomers expect the black holes to reside.
The data has helped to identify x-ray sources - a sign that black holes absorb matter at the center of each galaxy, exactly where, according to scientists, must be supermassive black holes.
But the merging of three supermassive black holes is quite the rare event.
"Thru the utilization of these most important observatories, we hang identified a brand unique components of identifying triple supermassive dusky holes. Each telescope gives us a different clue about what's going on in these systems", said Pfeifle. "We hope to extend our work to find more triples using the same technique".
Whereas three supermassive dusky holes colliding would possibly per chance well merely sound simple to detect, the sunshine-hogging dusky holes are shrouded in gasoline and grime that cloak it from our telescopes. Combining data from ground- and sky-based telescopes, astronomers spotted the rare black hole trifecta from multiple different observatories.
Knowing how to spot triple supermassive black holes could provide clues into how galaxies merge and grow.
The researchers were looking for binary systems of two black holes and through their selection technique, stumbled upon the ternary system.
An another result of these giant merging black holes are the gravitational waves which are ripples through spacetime. When there are three such black holes interacting, a pair should merge into a larger black hole much faster than if the two were alone. These waves will have lower frequencies than the National Science Foundation's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and European Virgo gravitational-wave detector can detect.