"Black Hole Messier 87" by Event Horizon Telescope / CC BY 3.0

Rare Discovery! 3 Monster Black Holes Are About to Collide

Sep 27, 2019

By Mike Wall

A rare trio of supermassive black holes has been caught in the act of coming together.

Three of the light-gobbling monsters nuzzle shoulder to shoulder in SDSS J084905.51+111447.2, a system of three merging galaxies about 1 billion light-years from Earth, a new study reports.

“We were only looking for pairs of black holes at the time, and yet, through our selection technique, we stumbled upon this amazing system,” lead author Ryan Pfeifle, of George Mason University in Virginia, said in a statement. “This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system of actively feeding supermassive black holes.”

Making the epic find wasn’t easy; it took observations by multiple instruments and help from lots of citizen scientists.

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