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The “Power Couple” in the Universe

22 Jul 2020, 10:00 UTC
The “Power Couple” in the Universe
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Title: Dual supermassive black holes at close separation revealed by the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic ProgramAuthors: John D. Silverman, Shenli Tang, Khee-Gan Lee, Tilman Hartwig, Andy Goulding, Michael A. Strauss et al.First Author’s Institution: Kavli IPMU & Department of Astronomy, The University of Tokyo, JapanStatus: Accepted by ApJ. Open access on Arxiv.Black hole power couplesThe scales in the Universe are beyond our imagination. From the huge scale of galaxy superclusters, to the giant mass contained within dark matter halos, to the astonishing density of bodies like supermassive black holes (SMBHs), all are natural wonders evolving with cosmic time. Scientists believe that all these enormous structures grew from a much smaller scale, through processes like merging (Figure 1). Therefore, galaxy mergers are essential to better understand the evolutionary history of the most powerful and luminous objects in the Universe.

Figure 1: An illustration of two simulated SMBHs merging from early stage to late stage (a-b-c-d). Adopted from Blecha et al. (2017).
When two SMBHs collide into each other, the central region of the merger may ignite a long-lasting burst of light, which shines over one trillion (~1012) times brighter than the Sun. This pair of merging SMBHs, a luminous dual ...

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