(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- Astronomers think they’ve spotted two massive black holes orbiting each other that could in the future collide creating an event so energetic it could shake the very fabric of space and time.
Researchers made the discovery while observing the PKS 2131-021 quasar, which has been studied extensively over the last 45 years.
A quasar is an extremely bright core of galaxies where superheated gas is caused by a black hole.
Researchers had noticed the brightness of the PKS 2131-021 quasar would sometimes change. They believe the cause of the varying brightness is a jet of light from the quasar moving back and forth like a ticking clock. This led them to surmise that this quasar is not the result of one black hole, but two black holes spinning around each other.
Before you panic, these black holes are located about 9 billion light-years from Earth.
Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California estimate that these two black holes have been orbiting each other for many millions of years. As a result, the researchers conclude that the black holes are now about 99 percent of the way to a collision.
Again, before you panic, that means this possible collision is still about 10,000 years in the future.
At the same time, these two black holes have not been conclusively identified. According to a study published recently in The Astrophysical Journal Letters by scientists studying the PKS 2131-021 quasar, they have not proven “definitively” that the quasar is a supermassive black hole binary (AKA two giant black holes).
Astronomers believe black hole mergers would be a source of gravitational waves – ripples in space/time.
However, if these two black holes exist and they do collide 10,000 years from now, by the time the gravitational waves reach Earth, they will be thousands of billions of times smaller than they were at the source and may not even be detected.