Are Two Giant Black Holes About to Collide?
A flickering quasar may be signaling that the most colossal of cosmic smashups could be just a few years away.
A collision between two giant black holes is the most titanic smashup astronomers can imagine. Nobody’s ever seen it happen—but if a new report in Astrophysical Journal Letters is correct, they might not have long to wait.
A rhythmically flickering light near the edge of the observable universe, say the authors, betrays the presence of two enormous black holes, totaling ten billion stars’ worth of mass between them and orbiting each other so tightly that they might have only two decades before the crash happens. “It’s amazing if true,” says NYU theorist Andrew MacFadyen, who was not involved in the research.
The idea that giant black holes could slam into each other isn’t the amazing part. Astronomers are convinced it