NASA images show supermassive black holes merging (Pics inside)

Stunning images of two merging supermassive black holes were recently shared by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The US space agency announced on Instagram that the Galaxy NGC 6240 contains two black holes that may have started merging about 30 million years ago.

This image of NGC 6240 contains new X-ray data from Chandra – shown in red, orange, and yellow – that has been combined with an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope originally released in 2008, the US space agency said.

The NASA observatory explained in the caption that the two “bright spots” near the center of the image are only 3,000 light-years apart. Eventually, the two black holes will drift together and form a massive black hole millions of years from now.

NASA explains supermassive black holes merging process

An official blog post suggests scientists believe that these black holes are so close to each other because they are in the midst of spiralling toward each other.

It is also believed that massive black hole pairs can explain some of the unusual behaviors seen in fast-growing supermassive black holes, such as the distortion and bending of the powerful jets they create. Additionally, massive black hole pairs are expected to be the most powerful source of gravitational waves in the universe when they merge, according to NASA.

In the blog, the US space agency wrote, “The formation of multiple systems of supermassive black holes should be common in the Universe since many galaxies undergo collisions and mergers with other galaxies, most of which contain supermassive black holes”.

Netizens call it ‘absolutely stunning’

The post has garnered more than 25,000 likes and received numerous comments from Internet users since being shared. While one user described the images as “truly amazing”, another simply wrote “So divine.”

Black holes merging

One user jokingly wrote: “Then future humans will be able to hear the ‘boop’ that comes out from the merger”.

Another user wrote, “Omg.. everything happens in the universe out there s pretty much way beyond human brains can process those time lapses”, while another said, “So pretty AND awesome.”

Black holes merging