Recently, astronomers have unveiled a new mystery about super-massive black holes. The discovery implies that super-massive black holes at the center of each quasar are in perfect alignment with each other. This was discovered after studying a series of quasars which are billion-light year of distances apart.
Black holes in quasars have hot spinning discs around them which emits jets as it rotates, hence meaning that quasars appear quite visible when viewed through a ground telescope.
Although it’s impossible to see these hot spinning discs, or axes, directly, researchers measured the polarization of light from each quasar. Astronomers used the direction of the polarization of light to figure out the angle of the axes, which also gave them the direction of the quasars’ spinning.
A research team, using the Very Large Telescope in Chile, discovered 93 of these quasars, spanning distances over billions of light-years, seen when the Universe was still relatively young. The first thing they noticed was that the rotation axes of all 93 quasars were aligned with each other, in spite of the distances between them.
Due to the new discovery, astronomers know that if quasars exists in a long filament of a huge structure then the spin of black holes actually aligns itself in the parallel direction along that filament.
“A correlation between the orientation of quasars and the structure they belong to is an important prediction of numerical models of evolution of our Universe,” says Dominique Sluse of the Argelander Institute for Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. “Our data provide the first observational confirmation of this effect, on scales much larger that what had been observed to date for normal galaxies.”
Moreover, these arrangements are not something that happens as a coincidence. Estimations by the research team suggest that the probability of an alignment like that taking place is even lesser than one percent. On the contrary, the alignment might signify that there is an order to the Universe which we are just discovering.
“The alignments in the new data, on scales even bigger than current predictions from simulations, may be a hint that there is a missing ingredient in our current models of the cosmos,” says Sluse.