Doomed quasar is heading for a powerful explosion

November 10, 2015 by Tomasz Nowakowski report
An artist’s concept of two colliding black holes, in the process of merging. Credit: NASA / CXC / A. Hobart.

(Phys.org)—PKS 1302-102 is one of the few known quasars with a pair of black holes within its accretion disc. It is also a curious case for astronomers as it will produce a powerful explosion when these two black holes merge. The scientists trying to determine the scale of this merger estimate that it could result in an enormous release of energy.

"The result will be an enormous release of energy, roughly equivalent to millions of supernovae, in the form of gravitational waves," Matthew Graham of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), one of the co-discoverers of PKS 1302-102, told Phys.org.

The quasar is in its final phase of the merging process. It could help us predict what the final stages of a black hole merger look like or how long the process might take. This is the so-called "final parsec problem", yet unsolved, as all theoretical models failed to explain the process.

Graham and his colleagues at Caltech, using the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey, detected a strong, smooth periodic signal when observing PKS 1302-102 in optical and infrared light. Periodic signal was something that scientists haven't seen before in a quasar, so they suggest that it means the presence of a pair of supermassive .

"In January 2015, we reported the detection of a five-year periodic signal in twenty years of optical data from PG1302-102 in Nature. We offered a number of possible physical mechanisms but they all required a binary as the basic hypothesis," Graham explained.

"It is a periodic variation, not a flickering, which is random. It happens on all wavelengths that we can probe, not just in infrared. It was discovered in the visible light first," George Djorgovski of Caltech, also one of the co-discoverers of the quasar, told Phys.org.

He revealed that a number of subsequent papers have come out this year supporting their interpretation of the data. For example, a recent Nature paper from D'Orazio, Haiman and Schiminovich, where they found ultraviolet periodicity in archival data, suggesting that the relativistic motion of the two orbiting black holes is causing the periodic signal.

"The infrared signal is showing the same periodicity as the optical and ultraviolet and is further evidence supporting the supermassive black hole binary interpretation," Graham noted.

As we wait for the outcome of the merger of two supermassive black holes in PKS 1302-102, the scientist calculate that it has already happened. That's because the quasar is located approximately 3.5 billion light years from Earth and they estimate that the merger took place about 3.39 billion years ago. If so, the light from that event will arrive here in at least 100 million years.

However, the scientists speculate that this merger might also lead to the ejection of the newly merged black hole from the galaxy.

Whatever the outcome would be, this event could be a great and invaluable source of information about gravitational waves. Binary black holes are considered to be the strongest known sources of in the universe. If they merge, it could give us the best opportunity to directly detect such waves. The scientists will of course keep an eye on this quasar, performing observations in different wavebands.

"We have ongoing monitoring of this object, both photometrically and spectroscopically, and intend observations at other wavebands," Graham said.

Explore further: New support for converging black holes in Virgo constellation

More information: References:

arxiv.org/abs/1501.01375

arxiv.org/abs/1507.07603

arxiv.org/abs/1511.01515

—Daniel J. D'Orazio et al. Relativistic boost as the cause of periodicity in a massive black-hole binary candidate, Nature (2015). DOI: 10.1038/nature15262

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LariAnn
1.5 / 5 (12) Nov 10, 2015
- the light from that event will arrive here in at least 100 million years.

It's amazing to me how much fixation there is on things that might have happened millions or billions of years ago, or won't be observable for millions or billions of years. What happened to now?

So, no rush - in fact, whatever technology we are using to study this quasar now is unlikely to even be a historical memory in 100 million years. Humanity may not be a historical memory in 100 million years. Better to study something scientists can observe and learn from in this lifetime!
antialias_physorg
4.8 / 5 (17) Nov 10, 2015
So, no rush - in fact, whatever technology we are using to study this quasar now is unlikely to even be a historical memory in 100 million years.

Well, they say _within_ 100 million years. Might be tomorrow (and there might be interesting/highly energetic stuff happening much earlier than the full merger). So it's worth keeping an eye on it. We can learn from other stuff in such an extreme system as well.

Good thing that this sucker is 3.5bn light years away. A supernova in our local stellar neighborhood is one of the events that can completely sterilize a planet like Earth. Something that can release the energy of millions of supernovae? You really want that a long way off.
Osiris1
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 10, 2015
Likely we will be on many planets in that time in some form or another. Who knows? Our species may well be a hybrid of several hybrids in turn where at some time some aliens raped apes.
viko_mx
Nov 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
someone11235813
3 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2015
...this event could be a great and invaluable source of information about gravitational waves.


But in the 100 million years that will have elapsed in the meanwhile, it's not unlikely that the knowledge gleaned will have already been worked out.
Bulbuzor
4.1 / 5 (14) Nov 10, 2015
...this event could be a great and invaluable source of information about gravitational waves.


But in the 100 million years that will have elapsed in the meanwhile, it's not unlikely that the knowledge gleaned will have already been worked out.


If humans really manage to live for another 100 million years, we'll be able to make qasars collide with binary black holes as fireworks to celebrate the independance day of Kepler-22b from Andromeda.

On a serious note tho :

It's amazing to me how much fixation there is on things that might have happened millions or billions of years ago, or won't be observable for millions or billions of years. What happened to now?


I wouldn't say that it's a fixation more then it is a (sad) reality, space is just too damn big. Everything being on such a timescale, it takes incredible luck to have extremely rare cosmological events to happen on human timescales.
Bigbangcon
1.6 / 5 (13) Nov 10, 2015
Quasar and bla hole? What is the connection between real and fictional object?


None! But it helps to make wild and idle speculations and publish academic papers. The lucky ones may even win a Nobel Award!

Meanwhile a REAL quasar looks like this: http://www.halton...ebuttals

Lex Talonis
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 10, 2015
Huge explosion?

A quasar stuck between TWO black holes?

One would think that it would be twice the anti-bang, or twice the shredding implosions, meaning that there would be two times less than nothing to see.
antigoracle
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 10, 2015
Gravitational waves....100 million years.
Sounds like one long disappointment.
Mike_Massen
3.4 / 5 (15) Nov 10, 2015
viko_mx asks again & often as methodology to obfuscate Science
Quasar and bla hole? What is the connection between real and fictional object?
This obtuse comment from a religious zealot who attempts proselytizing on a Science agglomeration forum and has also claimed
"I know Physics well"
viko_mx, if we believe his claim for which he has Nil evidence, should know the Maths & Physics predict the "Quasar & 'bla' hole" & evidence re star movements confirm it ie Many observations of star orbital motions around blank objects

The evidence based on viko_mx own frequent questions can only prove he has negligble knowledge of Physics & makes many outrageous claims about a loving god that also only makes claims where the evidence is this god acts exactly like a punishing devil !

Why can't/why does viko_mx refuse to answer questions, the most important in respect of his proselytizing is:
By what method does his claimed deity communicate well equally to all people ?
jsdarkdestruction
5 / 5 (11) Nov 11, 2015
Quasar and bla hole? What is the connection between real and fictional object?

How do you account for quasars? How do you account for the extremely heavy and compact objects seen in the centers of galaxies that with masses and sizes no matter what its truly made of inside the event horizon would have an escape velocity greater than the speed of light?
igorus
5 / 5 (14) Nov 11, 2015
Reading the comments on physorg is becoming a waste of time. The threads are filled with global warming deniers, evolution deniers, religious fanatics, fans of the plasma theory, the electrical universe or other crazy theories. Don't these people have anything to do in their life? Please physorg, do something about it, it's so annoying to read the first 5-10 comments with non-sense and the rest of the discussion becoming a flame war.
jsdarkdestruction
5 / 5 (11) Nov 11, 2015
Reading the comments on physorg is becoming a waste of time. The threads are filled with global warming deniers, evolution deniers, religious fanatics, fans of the plasma theory, the electrical universe or other crazy theories. Don't these people have anything to do in their life? Please physorg, do something about it, it's so annoying to read the first 5-10 comments with non-sense and the rest of the discussion becoming a flame war.

Its been this way forever. I hear ya though. The ignore button is your friend there. Another strategy is avoid certain article types. I haven't read a global warming articles comments section in years myself.
I admit I don't ignore some trolls because they make me laugh and are fun to tear down their claims and at least 1 (jvk) because I want to see his comments so I can give him his 1's.
If he ever said anything valuable or with meaning or proved something it would be sheer coincidence.he's the 1 and only who gets the auto 1 from me.
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (14) Nov 11, 2015
Reading the comments on physorg is becoming a waste of time.

Make liberal use of the 'ignore user' function. It helps quite a bit with the legibility of the comment sections.
Mastoras
3.9 / 5 (11) Nov 11, 2015
- the light from that event will arrive here in at least 100 million years.

It's amazing to me how much fixation there is on things that might have happened millions or billions of years ago, or won't be observable for millions or billions of years. What happened to now?

Um..., I think you have missed the whole picture. If we didn't study it, we wouldn't know when the merge would probably happen.

Mastoras
3.8 / 5 (10) Nov 11, 2015
Quasar and bla hole? What is the connection between real and fictional object?


None! But it helps to make wild and idle speculations and publish academic papers. The lucky ones may even win a Nobel Award!

Meanwhile a REAL quasar looks like this: http://www.halton...ebuttals


Thanks for your comment. It is a valuable contribution to my ongoing project to adjust settings on which comments I will allow to come to my attention.
bluehigh
2.3 / 5 (9) Nov 11, 2015
Make liberal use of the 'ignore user' function. It helps quite a bit with the legibility of the comment sections.


Protecting yourself from differing views simply leads to narrow minded ignorance. Only very insecure people need to close the door to dissent. Shouting about how much you know and how correct you are, and ignoring alternative opinions, demonstrates foolishness.

Robust debate is a path for real understanding and it's always possible 'to agree to disagree' and move on to other discussions. Learning something perhaps in the process.

In your case AA, it's senile dementia sadly for you.

Wipe your chin.
Mike_Massen
3.6 / 5 (14) Nov 11, 2015
A really sad, immature example of bluehigh's character illustrating his hypocrisy by stating
"Protecting yourself from differing views simply leads to narrow minded ignorance. Only very insecure people need to close the door to dissent'
is found here
http://phys.org/n...ant.html

Not only does bluehigh confirm he is extremely insecure & thus a great example of his own post re "narrow minded ignorance" he progresses with immense irony which seems to have eluded him, by a malicious outburst against me & antialias_physorg, he proves himself unable to examine evidence & blurts offensive comments which, I respectfully request, should be deleted & bluehigh banned.

I welcome antialias_physorg's input re also requesting the post be moderated & a warning, at least, issued to bluehigh to cease immature behaviour & instead actually read the links I offered, observe the associations are valid and based in evidence.

Cheers

Captain Stumpy
4.6 / 5 (11) Nov 11, 2015
Protecting yourself from differing views simply leads to narrow minded ignorance. Only very insecure people need to close the door to dissent
@Blue
there is a difference between those espousing an opposing view with a logical thought process and evidence and those who are promoting their latest pseudoscience belief

you might not like it but... it typically comes back to evidence (and for some, the inability to comprehend what constitutes legitimate evidence)

case in point: religion vs physics
adding religion to the argument doesn't bring evidence that is quantifiable
religion is also completely subjective to the individual and their interpretation

therefore, attempting to describe the universe with religion means you could have as many answers as people in the world

whereas physics has tight constraints with a methodology (scientific method) requiring evidence, predictability and validation

so ignoring pseudoscience perspectives isn't narrow minded ignorance
viko_mx
Nov 11, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
viko_mx
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 11, 2015
Does anyone ever seen a black hole? Does anyone ever checked whether physical settings in different parts of the universe were the same? Or almost the entire cosmology today that is permeated with the spirit of rebellion of the man of sin against the Creator, is built on bold fantasies that are hardly realistic when we consider carefully the facts.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (4) Nov 11, 2015
So if you scaled the age of the universe down to a single day, the merger occurred almost 6 hours ago, and it will be observed from here in a little over 10 minutes from now.
Zzzzzzzz
3.9 / 5 (11) Nov 11, 2015
Reading the comments on physorg is becoming a waste of time.

Make liberal use of the 'ignore user' function. It helps quite a bit with the legibility of the comment sections.

I've though often about doing this, and have reached the conclusion today that I should go ahead.
See ya Viko, I'll not be viewing your psychotic blather any more. Your desperate defense of your delusion will lose one more observer..... from a quantum perspective you are a step closer to a superposition.....or perhaps more accurately irrelevance......
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (10) Nov 11, 2015
Does anyone ever seen a black hole?
@viko
can you see the air in your house?
what about the air in your car tires?

Ooo... better yet!
have you seen your god?
how about your saviour?
you argue that you can't make a measurement and extrapolate data based on known laws of physics to anything (despite forensics, accident investigation, etc) because you (personally) can't "see" something but then argue that your deity is the "one" and all powerful despite you can't prove this with anything that anyone can "see"

Hmm...
are you out on a day pass or did you escape from the pretty canvas coat that ties in the back?
SuperThunder
3.4 / 5 (10) Nov 11, 2015
"We have ongoing monitoring of this object, both photometrically and spectroscopically, and intend observations at other wavebands," Graham said.


I actually had a moment where I wished there was a "click here to receive updates on this quasar" button after the article. I would love to know what gets detected if this thing does as predicted.
viko_mx
Nov 11, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (11) Nov 11, 2015
I do not see the Creator with my eyes but with my mind, heart and soul
@viko
we don't see the black hole with our eyes but we see and measure the effects it has upon the surrounding masses, light as well as material
this is all measurable as well as quantifiable, unlike your "mind/heart/soul" crap-o-la
I can see His works all around us
False claim and subjective: you see what you BELIEVE are his works
I really do not need to see the Creator with my own eyes
sorry... this is the basis of your argument above: if you can't see it with your own eyes then it must not be true, therefore, per your own argument, your own god is NOT TRUE
Have you seen...
have you seen the virus that gives you your colds?
how about ANY evidence that the flood happened? (were you there?)
have you seen adam or eve? the devil? angels?

epic failure
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (9) Nov 11, 2015
@viko cont'd
The eyes of a man seen too little of the real world
i have seen far more of the real world than you ever will

more "have you seen"

Have you seen:
- a zygote?
- the fertilization of an egg in ANY species?
- your own gut bacteria?
- the chemicals which are in your own head?
- any planet?
- any physical evidence that proves your bible is more correct than, say: Gilgamesh? (on that issue, any other earlier flood myth predating your biblical comic: https://www.youtu...69RqBpSw )
- any evidence at all that your deity is more true or real than Wakan Tanka, Odin, Usen, Buddha, or any other deity that is also representative of a theistic religion?
- the stone tablets that contain your laws that Moses brought from the mountain?
- the ark of the covenant? (the first, not the second, which you ignore anyway)
- Job, Esther, Ruth, Moses, or any other biblical prophet?
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (9) Nov 11, 2015
@viko cont'd
Does anyone ever seen a black hole?
have you ever seen:
- SuperThunder, Zzzzzzzz, Protoplasmix, Mike_Massen, bluehigh or me?
- the actual water evaporated from the ground or lake on a sunny day?
- DNA?
- RNA?
- Jeffrey Dahmer?

you like to say that because a person doesn't directly see something it must not be true (hence your argument) however, you can determine if something is true or exists by other means that isn't direct visual observation

this is how the scientific method works: we KNOW there is DNA, even if we can't see it directly without mechanical aid... we surmised there must be something there based upon the evidence, and therefore we sought to find it, and did, using hypothesis, testing and validation

since i know you will intentionally ignore evidence, i can legitimately to ridicule you for your intentionally clinging to stupidity
http://media-cach...f521.jpg
Bulbuzor
2 / 5 (4) Nov 11, 2015
- DNA?


Yes

- any planet?


Yes (Earth... not from above...)

Other then that, I think you've won the argument with the rest of your "Have you seen"

Does anyone ever checked whether physical settings in different parts of the universe were the same?


Now that's incredible, with religion you can refute two whole theories with the same argument (I here this one a lot for evolution)
Mike_Massen
3 / 5 (12) Nov 11, 2015
viko_mx claims
I do not see the Creator with my eyes but with my mind, heart and soul.
I can see His works all around us. I really do not need to see the Creator with my own eyes to know that the universe is His work. The eyes of a man seen too little of the real world
Tell us please viko_mx, how does this 'creator' communicate well & equally to all humans worldwide ?
Is it in a 'god-like' way to ensure peace & equanimity or is it the Same as mere humans making a claim from a human written book only that pursues: Status, Authority & Power ?

viko_mx, I have asked you this often but you ignore, HOW does it communicate ?

What is the best source of clear unequivocal information about the "creator" ?

What are the '"creator's" easily tested & definitive attributes please ?
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (7) Nov 11, 2015
@Bulbuzor
LMFAO

his comment was more about seeing with the unaided eye, hence the above

otherwise i would never have put things like Gut microbes, fertilised anything, zygotes, Dahmer or some of the others

his ASSumption that the unaided eye is the only way to observe is completely debunked even by his own arguments of his religion! LOL
Now that's incredible, with religion you can refute two whole theories with the same argument (I here this one a lot for evolution)
Yeah, always a FUN one to watch them dance around Evolution, isn't it?

you should follow JVK's arguments... https://sciencex....k/?v=act

talk about delusion fed by narcissistic Dunning-Kruger!
WOW
SuperThunder
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 11, 2015
It's like you're putting a puzzle together and you have pieces still missing. You can see their exact shape by the other pieces present around them, and you can know the exact colors that will be touching the edges because of the colors of the present pieces around them. Any piece that's a wrong shape, or (if you have one of those horrific non-interlocking puzzles) the wrong colors is wrong for the space. Jigsaw deduction.
Mike_Massen
3 / 5 (10) Nov 12, 2015
viko_mx claims
You have a slave mentality
Really, just like jesus happy there were Slaves - is that good ?

viko_mx claims
Obviously you do not respect the freedom of choice of the people and their right to have personal opinion
Science has (rational) freedom of choice to connect with Evidence, why don't you ?

Does your internet, ph, food production, clean water etc work ok only with faith & claim ?

viko_mx said
Such an attitude leads only to ruin
And that is Your path :-(

viko_mx said
First spiritual and then physical, and is associated with a lack of love in life
Right - exactly the same as your god, who punished everyone for Ever because it entrapped a young woman, never educated her in Guile & KNEW she would FAIL long before he even set her up, ie a Devil !

viko_mx says
Fools are always trying to impose their vain will with lawlessness which they want to legalize
Yes, via religion, evidence shows definitively SAME as your god !
Bulbuzor
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 12, 2015
@Bulbuzor
LMFAO

his comment was more about seeing with the unaided eye, hence the above

otherwise i would never have put things like Gut microbes, fertilised anything, zygotes, Dahmer or some of the others

his ASSumption that the unaided eye is the only way to observe is completely debunked even by his own arguments of his religion! LOL


I figured ;)

But you can see agglomerated DNA with the unaided eye when extracted in a way
bluehigh
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 13, 2015
it typically comes back to evidence
- CS

Captain, yes agreed. Often my concern is the interpretation of the evidence and I believe that's valid discussion.

@Mad Muttering Mike
Anti-thinking, the sad dribbling old fool, cannot claim to be offended by anything I write. I'm on his ignore list. If you're offended by me suggesting that you are a brain dead throwback then simply ignore me and hang out back slapping your dribbling bum chums. For some ignorance is bliss. Enjoy.

Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 13, 2015
y...my concern is the interpretation of the evidence and I believe that's valid discussion
@Blue
now, i can agree that interpretation of the evidence is valid discussion

however, that doesn't mean that attempting to interpret evidence without any kind of background or training in the subject is a valid interpretation that should be considered as equivalent to professional evaluations or interpretations of the evidence

if two physicists see X and get two different answers, then their interpretations are valid discussion...

but when a person comes to PO with an agenda (say: electric universe or reg) and they've no evidenciary (reality based) argument for said interpretation?

it can then be dismissed as equivalent to the rantings of a lunatic fringe (pretty much like any other fanatical religious acolytes)

it adds no value to the discussion to argue or present delusional beliefs over evidence based argument
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (8) Nov 13, 2015
@blue cont'd
a good example is blood spatter evidence
two people found unconscious behind a bar with blood spatter
some people might see spatter and claim it is a bat... some would claim it is a fist...
but there are easily used methods to tell the difference between the two objects just by viewing the spatter alone (which would include castoff, velocity and patterns) that a professional would be aware of that could determine the direction of the investigation based upon the initial on site response

the same with astrophysics

there are some people that see X and claim it must be because Y
but can't actually bring a logical interpretation of the evidence they claim supports their interpretation (reg comes to mind here; the eu are also bad about this too)

then there is probability
which is more probable for making Moon craters- asteroids/meteor's and stuff we've observed doing it, or the never observed overpowered plasma discharge of Sol?

that's my point
matt_s
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 15, 2015
"which is more probable for making Moon craters- asteroids/meteor's and stuff we've observed doing it, or the never observed overpowered plasma discharge of Sol?"

This. x100000

crusher
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 16, 2015
Talk about myopia! Lari Ann is very short sighted to say that an ultra-rare event like two quasars colliding is not worth watching. Although the event took place billions of years in our past, its still unfolding in our frame of reference and we might learn a lot about the existence of gravity waves and how they behave. Who knows, the explosion might surprise everyone and take place a lot sooner than predicted. or It might lead to a new form of energy.

I think astronomy is fascinating even if it has no direct connection with the lives of humans.
bschott
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 16, 2015
Reading the comments on physorg is becoming a waste of time. The threads are filled with global warming deniers, evolution deniers, religious fanatics, fans of the plasma theory, the electrical universe or other crazy theories. Don't these people have anything to do in their life? Please physorg, do something about it, it's so annoying to read the first 5-10 comments with non-sense and the rest of the discussion becoming a flame war.


In other words, please make the people go away who do not believe the theories I support.

Protecting yourself from differing views simply leads to narrow minded ignorance.


Yup.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Nov 18, 2015
In other words, please make the people go away who do not believe the theories I support
@bsTROLL
it's not about belief, it's about evidence

if you would field a plausible argument that is supported by evidence and not already refuted by science/physics etc, then you wouldn't be labeled a troll or pseudoscience cult proselytizer ...

it also boils down to adherence to the basic premise of the site (included in the guidelines) which is "post science"

just because you want to believe in your pseudoscience doesn't mean it is real any more than believing in the color green makes you a leprechaun

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