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X-rays and Gravitational Waves Will Combine to Illuminate Massive Black Hole Collisions

21 Jan 2020, 21:54 UTC
X-rays and Gravitational Waves Will Combine to Illuminate Massive Black Hole Collisions
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A new study by a group of researchers at the University of Birmingham has found that collisions of supermassive black holes may be simultaneously observable in both gravitational waves and X-rays at the beginning of the next decade.The European Space Agency (ESA) has recently announced that its two major space observatories of the 2030s will have their launches timed for simultaneous use. These missions, Athena, the next generation X-ray space telescope and LISA, the first space-based gravitational wave observatory, will be coordinated to begin observing within a year of each other and are likely to have at least four years of overlapping science operations.According to the new study, published this week in Nature Astronomy, ESA’s decision will give astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to produce multi-messenger maps of some of the most violent cosmic events in the Universe, which have not been observed so far and which lie at the heart of long-standing mysteries surrounding the evolution of the Universe.They include the collision of supermassive black holes in the core of galaxies in the distant universe and the “swallowing up” of stellar compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes by massive black holes harbored in the centers of most ...

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