Though this phenomenon has never been observed, scientists theorize that it has happened in the past at the conclusion of mergers between galaxies. Recent research has identified a pair of black holes in a distant galaxy that appear to be less than a light-year apart, and set to collide in a million years or so. Studying them could help us to understand what will happen when our own galaxy, the Milky Way, collides with the nearby Andromeda galaxy in a few billion years.
What happens when galaxies collide?
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Key Facts In This Video
This simulation of a collision between black holes was the largest astrophysical calculation ever performed on a NASA supercomputer at the time. 00:07
In the final moments before the black holes merge, gravitational waves are at their most intense. 00:28
A merger between two black holes could generate more energy than all of the stars combined. 00:44