Three black holes are going to crash into each other, Nasa warns

Artist’s impression of three black holes locked in a death dance (Provider: Metro Online/ Nasa)

A trio of hungry black holes are doomed to smash together in a collision of epic proportions, Nasa has warned.

Astronomers have discovered three supermassive monsters which appear to be destined to crash into each other.

This will be a ‘titanic’ event which causes a gigantic outburst of energy and could even lead to the merger of two of the beasts.

However, our understanding of what happens when black holes collide is limited.

We know that supermassive black holes sit at the centre of galaxies but cannot fully explain how they merge to form larger entities.

Two views of the black holes, with the colourful image in the top taken using an optical telescope (Image: Nasa)

It is not clear how the behemoths overcome a phenomenon called ‘the final parsec problem’ which describes how supermassive holes come close in each other but do not merge.

It’s possible the presence of a third hole may help to bring the other pair together.

Stargazers were stunned to find the three dark colossi.

‘We were only looking for pairs of black holes at the time, and yet, through our selection technique, we stumbled upon this amazing system,’ said Ryan Pfeifle of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, the first author of a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal describing these results.

‘This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system of actively feeding supermassive black holes.”

The system is known as SDSS J084905.51+111447.2

‘Dual and triple black holes are exceedingly rare,’ said co-author Shobita Satyapal, also of George Mason.

‘But such systems are actually a natural consequence of galaxy mergers, which we think is how galaxies grow and evolve.’


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