Sent to you by Sean McBride via Google Reader: Two Black Holes Dancing
in 3C 75 via Astronomy Picture of the Day RSS Feed on 11/9/08 Two Black
Holes Dancing in 3C 75 What's happening at the center of active galaxy
3C 75? The two bright sources at the center of this composite x-ray
(blue)/ radio (pink) image are co-orbiting supermassive black holes
powering the giant radio source 3C 75. Surrounded by multimillion
degree x-ray emitting gas, and blasting out jets of relativistic
particles the supermassive black holes are separated by 25,000
light-years. At the cores of two merging galaxies in the Abell 400
galaxy cluster they are some 300 million light-years away. Astronomers
conclude that these two supermassive black holes are bound together by
gravity in a binary system in part because the jets' consistent swept
back appearance is most likely due to their common motion as they speed
through the hot cluster gas at 1200 kilometers per second. Such
spectacular cosmic mergers are thought to be common in crowded galaxy
cluster environments in the distant universe. In their final stages the
mergers are expected to be intense sources of gravitational waves.
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