HomeAstronomyHow dancing black holes get close enough to merge

How dancing black holes get close enough to merge

The many black hole mergers detected through gravitational wave observatories have revealed that black holes crash into each other far more often than we thought. Now, new research suggests a way for black holes to merge quickly: They must be caught in the accretion disk of a supermassive companion.

It’s relatively easy, astrophysically speaking, to get two black holes close to each other. Either they are born that way as the offspring of a binary star system, or they randomly encounter each other in the depths of interstellar space. And once in orbit, they can remain so, circling around each other endlessly.

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