Two supermassive black holes set to merge in ‘historic’ first-time collision

A historic black hole is in the making as two supermassive black holes appear set to collide for the first time ever.

Astronomers have spotted two massive black holes so close together that they will eventually merge into one colossal cosmic abyss.

Black holes have a gravitational pull so strong that nothing can escape – not even light, LADbible reports.

The supermassive black holes lie 89 million light years away from us in the constellation of Aquarius.

The two black holes are just 1,600 light-years apart from each other – which is actually very close together. The bigger black hole is believed to have a mass of almost 154 million times that of the Sun.

Dr Karina Voggel, lead author of the research at the University of Strasbourg in France, said: "The two black holes are on a collision course and form the closest pair of supermassive black holes found to date.

"Our finding implies there might be many more of these relics of galaxy mergers out there.

"They may contain many hidden massive black holes that still wait to be found. It could increase the total number of supermassive black holes known in the local universe by 30%."

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This pair of black holes are the closest to Earth that have ever been found.

When they merge they will send out gravitational waves, which are ripples in space and time first predicted by legendary physicist Albert Einstein.

The black holes will finally collide into one giant black hole 250 million years from now.

Supermassive black holes usually sit at the centre of large galaxies, and when two galaxies collide and merge, so do the black holes.

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The supermassive holes are both at the centre of dense groups of bright stars captured by European Space Obervatory’s (ESO's) Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in Chile.

The ELT is due to be in full operation before the end of the decade and will play a big part in detecting further discoveries in space.

"With the HARMONI instrument on the ELT we will be able to make detections like this considerably further than currently possible", said co-author Dr Steffen Mieske.

"This detection of a supermassive black hole pair is just the beginning."

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