The Very Large Telescope captured a galaxy with two supermassive black holes.

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Space Observatory took a picture of the galaxy NGC 7727. This giant

was born as a result of the merger of two other galaxies, which occurred about a billion years ago. Because of this, there are two supermassive black holes at the center of NGC 7727.

The collision of galaxies is not like a meeting of twosolid bodies. Most of the space of such systems is voids filled only with gas molecules. Therefore, during a collision, two galaxies seem to twist in a common dance. At the same time, tidal forces created by gravity change the shape of the primary structures.

Galaxy NGC 7727 as seen by the Very Large Telescope. Image: ESO

"Tails" of stars, gas and dust twistaround galaxies, forming a new system. As a rule, it has an unusual disordered and asymmetric shape. For example, one that can be seen in the new image of NGC 7727.

This galaxy is located at a distance of 89 millionlight years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. In addition to its unusual shape, it attracts researchers with two massive centers left over from the original objects. Each core is made up of a dense group of stars with a supermassive black hole at its center.

Close-up of two black hole "cores" in the galaxy NGC 7727. Image: ESO/Voggel et al.

Researchers note that gravitational centersin NGC 7727, this is the closest pair of black holes ever discovered. The distance between them is now only 1,600 light years. In just 250 million years (quite fast on a cosmic scale), they will merge into a single even more massive black hole.

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