Massive black hole duo: Possible sighting by WISE

Dec 04, 2013
Two black holes are entwined in a gravitational tango in this artist's conception. Supermassive black holes at the hearts of galaxies are thought to form through the merging of smaller, yet still massive black holes, such as the ones depicted here. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, helped lead astronomers to what appears to be a new example of a dancing black hole duo. Called WISE J233237.05-505643.5, the suspected black hole merger is located about 3.8 billion light-years from Earth, much farther than other black hole binary candidates of a similar nature. Credit: NASA

(Phys.org) —Astronomers have spotted what appear to be two supermassive black holes at the heart of a remote galaxy, circling each other like dance partners. The incredibly rare sighting was made with the help of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

Follow-up observations with the Australian Telescope Compact Array near Narrabri, Australia, and the Gemini South telescope in Chile, revealed unusual features in the galaxy, including a lumpy jet thought to be the result of one black hole causing the jet of the other to sway.

"We think the jet of one black hole is being wiggled by the other, like a dance with ribbons," said Chao-Wei Tsai of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., who is lead author of a paper on the findings appearing in the Dec. 10 issue of Astrophysical Journal. "If so, it is likely the two black holes are fairly close and gravitationally entwined."

The findings could teach astronomers more about how supermassive black holes grow by merging with each other.

The WISE satellite scanned the entire sky twice in infrared wavelengths before being put into hibernation in 2011. NASA recently gave the spacecraft a second lease on life, waking it up to search for asteroids, in a project called NEOWISE.

The new study took advantage of previously released all-sky WISE data. Astronomers sifted through images of millions of actively feeding supermassive black holes spread throughout our sky before an oddball, also known as WISE J233237.05-505643.5, jumped out.

"At first we thought this galaxy's unusual properties seen by WISE might mean it was forming new stars at a furious rate," said Peter Eisenhardt, WISE project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and a co-author of the study. "But on closer inspection, it looks more like the death spiral of merging giant black holes."

Almost every large galaxy is thought to harbor a filled with the equivalent in mass of up to billions of suns. How did the black holes grow so large? One way is by swallowing ambient materials. Another way is through galactic cannibalism. When galaxies collide, their massive black holes sink to the center of the new structure, becoming locked in a gravitational tango. Eventually, they merge into one even-more-massive black hole.

The dance of these black hole duos starts out slowly, with the objects circling each other at a distance of about a few thousand light-years. So far, only a few handfuls of supermassive black holes have been conclusively identified in this early phase of merging. As the black holes continue to spiral in toward each other, they get closer, separated by just a few light-years.

It is these close-knit black holes, also called black hole binaries, that have been the hardest to find. The objects are usually too small to be resolved even by powerful telescopes. Only a few strong candidates have been identified to date, all relatively nearby. The new WISE J233237.05-505643.5 is a new candidate, and located much farther away, at 3.8 billion light-years from Earth.

Radio images with the Australian Telescope Compact Array were key to identifying the dual nature of WISE J233237.05-505643.5. Supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies typically shoot out pencil-straight jets, but, in this case, the jet showed a zigzag pattern. According to the scientists, a second massive black hole could, in essence, be pushing its weight around to change the shape of the other black hole's jet.

Visible-light spectral data from the Gemini South telescope in Chile showed similar signs of abnormalities, thought to be the result of one black hole causing disk material surrounding the other black hole to clump. Together, these and other signs point to what is probably a fairly close-knit set of circling black holes, though the scientists can't say for sure how much distance separates them.

"We note some caution in interpreting this mysterious system," said Daniel Stern of JPL, a co-author of the study. "There are several extremely unusual properties to this system, from the multiple radio jets to the Gemini data, which indicate a highly perturbed disk of accreting material around the black hole, or holes. Two merging black holes, which should be a common event in the universe, would appear to be simplest explanation to explain all the current observations."

The final stage of merging black holes is predicted to send gravitational waves rippling through space and time. Researchers are actively searching for these waves using arrays of dead stars called pulsars in hopes of learning more about the veiled black hole dancers (see http://phys.org/news/2013-11--dont-big-splash.html ).

Explore further: The search for medium-sized black holes

More information: Preprint paper: arxiv.org/abs/1310.2257

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Aaron1980
1 / 5 (7) Dec 04, 2013
Three black holes start to orbit each other. Two are entangled. The third black hole knocks one of the two entangled black holes out of orbit into intergalactic space half way across the universe. This condition should exist somewhere.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Dec 04, 2013
Do you even know what entanglement is? Do you know that it's impossible for two objects that are once close to one another then to travel halfway accros the universe?

Please look up words and their meanings before using them.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (7) Dec 04, 2013
Pseudo-scientific metaphysical mumbo jumbo
Aaron1980
1 / 5 (9) Dec 04, 2013
Do you even know what entanglement is? Do you know that it's impossible for two objects that are once close to one another then to travel halfway accros the universe?

Please look up words and their meanings before using them.


ALL OBJECTS THAT HAVE TRAVELED HALFWAY ACROSS THE UNIVERSE WERE ONCE CLOSE TO ONE ANOTHER AND DID TRAVEL TO WHERE THEY ARE NOW
Zera
2.5 / 5 (11) Dec 04, 2013
A wandering star bumps into a black hole and carrys on its way.

The black-hole says: "Sir, I think you've failed to understand the gravity of the situation"
Humpty
1 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2013
OK just before the moment they leap into each other......

IF you were to travel in a plane (sheet of paper type of surface) between the two - what would happen to you?

Zera
1 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2013
You'd be truly and utterly F@#$'d,

but as a neat little thought experiment:

http://www.esa.in...e_points

http://www.physic...t=410675
Mimath224
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 05, 2013
Mmm, something bothers me about this but can't think what. From a 'conventional' stance just how do 2 massive BH get that close without disrupting the surrounding space & emitting unusually high intensity x-rays? A supermassive BH will have a extensive event horizon (for say about 1x10^8 solar mass, approx 3x10^8km) so a lesser BH would have it's e.h. etc first...maybe not?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2013
ALL OBJECTS THAT HAVE TRAVELED HALFWAY ACROSS THE UNIVERSE WERE ONCE CLOSE TO ONE ANOTHER AND DID TRAVEL TO WHERE THEY ARE NOW

Motion. Expansion. Learn the difference. All-Caps-shouting only makes your ignorance more obvious.
Entanglement requires that two objects be created in the same space. (Or some property-carrying particle be exchanged). That doesn't work for black holes if you want to have them then move off away from each other. Since one of the properties of a black hole is: if you get in contact with one then you aren't going anyhwere else.

So please: Think next time before posting.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2013
mimath:

Mmm, something bothers me about this but can't think what. From a 'conventional' stance just how do 2 massive BH get that close without disrupting the surrounding space & emitting unusually high intensity x-rays?


They only emit e-rays when they have a dense accretion disk around them. The x-rays are emitted by the material in the disk, which is thought to heat up mainly by friction until it is so hot that it radiates in x-ray frequencies (red hot, yellow hot, white hot, ...x-ray hot)

I would guess that tightly orbiting BH pairs will be hard to observe because they should scatter their accretion disks before they get too close. So there may not be much matter around them capable of emitting anything, and they may be concealed in a cloud of dust from the scattered accretion disk material.

That would explain how they could be common but rarely observed at the same time.
Zera
1 / 5 (7) Dec 05, 2013
@GSwift7:

I like that, simple answer is often the most correct.

I'd suggest that also, it's a matter of not having the correct toolbox to properly observe our universe yet, we're constantly putting up satellites and radar dishes with the latest and greatest sensitive equipment.

While these events are spatially/timeline massive, they are being observed from such a great distance it takes so much assumptions.

I imagine a day when we can stand on foriegn planets with impunity, directly observe and measure their secrets. Park spaceships in stable orbits around black holes, take direct readings...

One day our species will travel to these places, hear and see, smell, touch and taste the stars, feel their rumble as a billion times a billion diffirent pieces of the universe interact us the human being.
Mimath224
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 05, 2013
@GSwift7 Yes, that seems reasonable but the other alternative is also possible. if the BH have spin. One BH might be ejected and depending on the power of recoil x-rays would be produced. This idea (I think) goes back to later in the last decade (must have the date in my collection somewhere ha!)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2013
That doesn't work for black holes if you want to have them then move off away from each other. Since one of the properties of a black hole is: if you get in contact with one then you aren't going anyhwere else.
Well actually aa it seems you are once again under-educated and ill-informed.

"Two separate research groups, one of which is from MIT, have presented evidence that wormholes — tunnels that may allow us to travel through time and space — are "powered" by quantum entanglement... The researchers stipulate that wormholes are actually entangled black holes..."
http://www.extrem...research
So please: Think next time before posting
-So please research next time before posting.

Per the article, if we cant detect gravity waves from this pair then I dont know what-
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2013
Well looks like physorg does read what otto writes
http://phys.org/n...firstCmt

-Im sure it is just a coincidence.
Mimath224
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 05, 2013
@TheGhostofOtto1923 Would the entanglement come from the photons via Hawking Radiation? Since these photons would be emitted by the BH then they would be entangled at source...not sure of my reasoning here because this would imply that the entangled WH couldn't exist without the entangled photons...what do you think?
Humpty
1.8 / 5 (8) Dec 05, 2013
It's actually Jesus's way of letting the black holes breed - starting off with eating each other - before they have sex.

For the non christians, it's called having a 69, followed by a big bang.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2013
mimath:

Yes, that seems reasonable but the other alternative is also possible. if the BH have spin. One BH might be ejected and depending on the power of recoil x-rays would be produced


What are you proposing as the source of the x-rays? Are you saying the black hole is emitting something?

Besides, we don't see anything like that, so if that happens then where are they?

Otto:

Dude, take a chill pill. I can find research papers that talk about dragons. Does that mean they are real, or that the majority of researchers take them seriously? Good lord, entangled black holes and wormholes? WTF man. Go read some more comic books, or work on your life sized model of the starship Enterprise. If you build it right, I'm sure you can do warp 10 and bring a wormhole back here to throw in my face. Go for it, you can do it!
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (4) Dec 06, 2013
Would the entanglement come from the photons via Hawking Radiation? Since these photons would be emitted by the BH then they would be entangled at source...not sure of my reasoning here
How would I know? This is the internet. If you're not sure why don't you look it up like I did?
Dude, take a chill pill. I can find research papers that talk about dragons. Does that mean they are real, or that the majority of researchers take them seriously? Good lord, entangled black holes and wormholes?
Gswift just admits that he would rather make stuff up than look stuff up, or even check the links that other posters provide him. Perhaps he doesn't know how?

Those refs were to researchers from MIT and elsewhere. One was to a physorg article posted yesterday. You and AA are just too lazy and self-centered to check your opinions before you post them, something I have caught both of you doing many times. Which is a tad irresponsible don't you think?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 06, 2013
From the article you didn't read

"In July, physicists Juan Maldacena of the Institute for Advanced Study and Leonard Susskind of Stanford University proposed a theoretical solution in the form of two entangled black holes. When the black holes were entangled, then pulled apart, the theorists found that what emerged was a wormhole..."

"Julian Sonner, a senior postdoc in MIT's Laboratory for Nuclear Science and Center for Theoretical Physics, has published his results in the journal Physical Review Letters, where it appears together with a related paper by Kristan Jensen of the University of Victoria and Andreas Karch of the University of Washington."

-See, to people who respect research, these appear to carry some validity. Sorry nothing about dragons.

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