In a major breakthrough, Indian researchers have discovered three super massive black holes merging together to form a triple active galactic nucleus. The black holes have been spotted at the centre of a recently discovered galaxy that increases the possibility of further detecting such rare occurrences.
A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics came upon the rare occurrence while studying a known interacting galaxy pair, NGC7733, and NGC7734.
The study published as a letter in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics was intended to investigate the nature of the nuclear emission from the galaxies in the interacting pair NGC 7733NGC 7734.
“We have confirmed the existence of the third galaxy, NGC 7733N, in the NGC 773334 group. It appears to overlap with the northern arm of NGC 7733,” researchers said in the paper.
To find this rare occurances researchers used data from the Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) onboard the first Indian space observatory ASTROSAT, the European integral field optical telescope called MUSE mounted on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and infrared images from the optical telescope (IRSF) in South Africa.
A black hole is formed from the death of a star with such a high gravitational field that the matter gets squeezed into the small space under it, trapping the light of the dead star. The gravity is so strong due to the matter being squeezed into a tiny space. Since no light can get out, people can’t see black holes. They are invisible.