galaxy with two black holes

Black holes are regarded as the most extreme case of gravity. They are objects so compact with extremely high gravity that even light cannot escape. Their properties were first studied by the famous American physicists Robert Oppenheimer and Hartland Snyder in 1939 who theoretically proved that whenever a star of sufficient mass stop burning, it may turn into a black hole.

Until modern investigations and researches, it was believed that that their number were quite limited in our universe. However, modern discoveries proved the reverse, and now it is a common belief among the majority of astronomers as well as physics community that at the center of each galaxy there exists one black hole that powers the galaxy.

The masses of these giant structures range from 106 to 109 solar mass constituting about 0.5% mass of a galaxy. For example, in our own Galaxy, i.e., Milky Way Galaxy, in addition to a giant black hole at the center, a dozen of smaller black holes have also been identified.

But this is not the whole story. NASA’s Hubble telescope has recently discovered a galaxy with two black holes! This discovery is an exciting event for astronomers who have long been working on the possibility of finding binary black holes.

This galaxy, which is named Markarian 231 (or Mrk 231), is located at a distance of 600 million light years from our Milky Way galaxy. The mass of the main black hole is about 150,000,000 times that of our sun and its small partner is 4,000,000 times mass of the sun.

These black holes combined together create an energy sufficient for the production of stars in Mkr 231 at a rate 100 times that of Milky Way. They are estimated to collide each other in a few hundred thousand years, making the area around the collision unsafe for future outer galaxy spaceships!

Image credit: Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

Copyright © 2016 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.
The following two tabs change content below.

Bob Pershing

I started writing articles as an amateur journalist since I was a high school student. My articles cover stories for children magazines. But before launching my career as a journalist, I earned my MS in Physics and electrical engineering and conducted research in radar communication. Owing to my previous background and my strong interest in writing articles and putting a human face on groundbreaking stories about science, technology, health and sustainability, I decided to work as a part-time freelance journalist, writing articles in English, French and Arabic media. I also enjoy drawing caricatures which I normally send them to French media. While I am at home I love to solve mathematics and play soccer. I live in UK.