For the first time, scientists have seen an unusual light signal from a distant quasar repeating itself. These signals, according to the scientists, are in indication to the last stages of a merger between two supermassive black holes. The discovery findings are published in the journal Nature.
The researchers say that mergers indicate critical steps in the formation and evolution of large galaxies and the supermassive black holes which lie at the centers. Furthermore, they also have significance in regulating the creation of star in a galaxy.
George Djorgovski, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said that “these massive black holes are separated by distances ranging from light-years to several thousands of light years.”
Black holes, in their original state are impossible to see, but the accretion disk formed by the pull in of the surrounding gases to form a swirling band of material due to the strong gravitational pulls makes them visible.
These particles are later accelerated to high speed, that generates a huge amount of energy in the form of heat and powerful gamma and x-rays.
According to the researchers, the black hole forms a quasar when it goes through such a process, which is a highly illuminated object, to the extent that it’s greater than all the stars present in its host galaxy.
Researchers are positive about the notion that the discovery could give knowledge about a mystery that has been a problem in astrophysics since a long time called the ‘final parsec problem’.
The lead author Matthew Graham, who is a senior computational scientists, said in a statement that the final stages of the merger of the two supermassive black holes are not yet understood even to a decent level. The founding of such a system at the stage of merger gives a way to have a look into what actually takes place in the process.