Scientists from NASA have discovered two gigantic black holes that are on a collision course with one another and will actually 100% destroy the entire universe if they end up colliding. This is no joke.
The researchers used NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to detect the two black holes and discovered that they were also the two tightest orbiting pair ever discovered. It’s said that if two black holes ever collide then they will produce the most violent event possible in the universe, releasing the power of 100 million supernovae, which is basically the equivalent of the Big Bang all over again. Whoa.
However, it’s not all bad news though. Although the two black holes are the tightest orbiting pair ever detected, they’re still pretty far away from each other – one light week to be exact, whereas the closest found before that was 20 light years apart. A light week though is obviously a phenomenal amount of time, and it’s estimated that they’ll collide somewhere between 10,000 and 1 million years from now, with the best estimate coming at around 100,000 years.
So there’s no need to panic although maybe your great great great granddaughter might need to worry about it – if they’ve discovered the secret of immortality by then of course.
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The study’s head author Zoltan Haiman is still pretty excited about it though, offering the following thoughts:
This is the closest we’ve come to observing two black holes on their way to a massive collision.
Watching this process reach its culmination can tell us whether black holes and galaxies grow at the same rate, and ultimately test a fundamental property of space-time: its ability to carry vibrations called gravitational waves, produced in the last, most violent, stage of the merger.
I suppose if you’re into this kind of thing then that would be exciting, but I can’t really get that into something that I’m never going to see the end of (hello Final Fantasy VII) and probably nobody currently working on will ever get to the bottom of. Still, I suppose Haiman will be a footnote when a book about black holes and their characteristics are finally understood, even if it will probably be published on the day the whole universe explodes thanks to their collision. I’m sure he’ll be stoked about that.
NASA also hope that the discovery of this black hole pair might also enable us to discover even more, although quite why they would want to do that is lost on me. So that we know when the whole universe is going to end sooner?!
If you want to get ready for that then check out five items that you need to own come the end of the world.