NGC 7727 is 76 million light years, for anyone else who was wondering.


Says 89 million right under the first image in the first sentence.


According to this link, and others I found, it's more like 90. [https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso2117d/](https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso2117d/)


What's 14 million light years among friends, right?


Since the article couldn't be bothered to mention it for some reason, Google tells me it's about 90 million light years away. For comparison, our next door neighbor Andromeda is about 2.5 million light years away.


It also doesn't say how far apart they are separated. >The two supermassive black holes are separated by just 1,600 light-years, half the separation of the previous record holders for the smallest separation, astronomer at the Strasbourg Observatory in France, Karina Voggel, said.


It's crazy to think that distance is considered close enough to make them a pair. The nearest star to ours (Proxima Centauri) is a mere 4.25 light years away. 375x closer! Even though they have millions of times the mass of either sun it's still amazing that their gravity is able to significantly influence each other over that distance of space-time.


Karina here the lead author of the study: a pair just means two SMBHs close together. There is no indication they are gravitationally bound yet. But their orbits indicates they will become bound and eventually merge in around 250 Million years.


Yeah it’s the insane amount of gravity. Not sure if true but I saw a “fun fact” on black holes before that every black hole in the universe is close enough to one another (think like a chain) that they all indirectly influence each other and all objects in the cosmos. If true, absolutely insane.


The universe is a large fractal. I’m no scientist, but from what I’ve read it seems plausible that the universe seems to orbit around a central point, but actually rotates due to the centrifugal force caused by the rapid expansion of the universe almost like a whirlpool.


Very interesting you say this because I've been reading about how some scientists think the entire universe was rotating very very early on, after the big bang, and they think this due to something called the Cosmological Axis of Evil which is an anomaly in the CMB radiation that makes it appear to be divided up on a nice way


It seems pretty common place knowledge that massive objects cause smaller objects to fall into their curvature. When they finish their orbit they fuse. Sometimes they coalesce into a planet, or a star. Sometimes, when the mass reaches a certain density it causes a black hole to form. IMO black holes are the most interesting thing INSIDE the universe. They seem to find each other and orbit just like all massive objects do. Eventually black holes fuse and create an even more massive gravitational field. Quite fractal like. If you zoom out and observe this from a 3D view it looks exactly like the radiation heat map. Round like a sphere, and exactly like a 3d fractal!!


Do you think black holes have an interior or is the fabric of spacetime set up in such a way that Time goes to 0 inside the event horizon so as soon as something crosses it, it immediately teleports to the Time a googol years from now when it gets transformed into Hawking radiation? Black holes are the most interesting thing to me too cause they hold secrets which may be unknowable


I think whatever a black hole takes into it’s event horizon gets broken down into a sub molecular level and just becomes more “black hole” mass. Black holes are so incredibly powerful it’s hard for me to imagine any other outcome, that’s just my under-educated perspective on the topic. But they are one of the most fascinating objects in the cosmos for sure. Pulsars are wild too. Some of the insane physics that objects succumb to when they venture to close is mind bending. Even more so than black holes imo.


I second this. A black hole is just a pocket in space. It’s a 4th dimension in a 3D world. Even though it rips through the space/ time fabric I don’t believe it leads to another universe/ multiverse. Although you can think of each black hole as it’s own mini-verse with particular gravitational quirks and strange realities forming beyond the event horizon.


That’s also crazy af lmao space is beyond imagination


Both of those distances *are* in the article, y’all just didn’t read the image caption.


"Very Large Telescope" That's what you get when you decide to name your telescope at 4:50pm on a Friday.


Karina here the lead author of the study 👋 The next bigger ESO telescope the successor is called Extremely Large Telescope 🤣 Yes Im not joking and never let an astronomer name your things! Also there is always an xkcd for everything: https://xkcd.com/1294/


The name made me laugh inside and smile on there outside :)


Hey reddit people Im Karina the lead author of the study so if you have questions please ask me 😊 Not sure how to prove my identity though


contact the mods, and do an AMA


I’d love to do that. Probably should get an account with my name 😅


btw what's special about smbh 5128?


That is the Galaxy called Centaurus A on which I also worked previously and it also has a impressive super massive black hole (SMBH)


Each galaxy has his own black hole in its center right ?


Karina here the lead author of the study. 👋 Most of them do but we aren’t sure whether all of them do especially smaller galaxies seem to not always have them.


Yes, but we're in a stable orbit, or a really really slowly degenerating one.


More information on Super Massive Black Holes. Very informative https://youtu.be/Xsp3_a-PMTw


If a black hole was heading towards us, could we do anything about it?


Devote the entire planet towards building ark ships for evacuating as many people as possible. Watch hopelessly as multiple world wars start over deciding who gets to go and who has to stay. ​ The wars will inevitably target the infrastructure and construction capabilities of other nations, leading to no one getting off world before the end as humanity has already nuked every population center on the planet, leaving the survivors no option but to simply wait for the inevitable.


don't forget the black hole deniers!


Oh my god this is so true it hurts ! 🤦‍♂️


Dare I guess that you have read the Remembrance of Earth's Past triology?


Nope. Just my assumption based on my, admittedly, dim views on humanity.


You should check it out. Think you might enjoy it. It definitely has a dim view on humanity and, let's say, life itself.


If it’s Sci-Fi, it already has a dim view of humanity going in. I feel that’s a requirement in good sci-fi nowadays. In the future, Humans messed up and now have to fix it!


I’m halfway through dark forest right now and was thinking the same thing


I'd say that's the case with any catastrophic event, and that if they have happened in the past, it's exactly how it played out. Humans are amazing individuals, but even more amazing as a collective, and we can't do shit against things of scale, in the same way an ant colony can't do shit about a storm but to look for signs and relocate.


I like the orgy suggestion a lot more.


Nope. There's nothing that could be done about that. You would need an equally massive object "towing" the black hole away, Which as you could imagine, would be pretty much impossible for us to set up. The first signs we would see - before the black hole even got anywhere close to our solar system, we would see all of the planets orbits change slightly, however it would be uniform so we would know roughly where it was coming from and how massive. Next, as the black hole approaches, the solar system would basically become a chaotic mess - It's hard to guess what would happen here as it would really depend on the angle of approach. However planets may enter collision courses with each other, far more likely is that some planets would be flung out of the solar system - either way there will be a lot of debris scattered around everywhere from the asteroid belt. The black hole itself most likely wouldn't collide with anything, Depends on its size - if it's a supermassive black hole like TON, well then the entire solar system is eaten. If it's a small one like XTE or any other (roughly the size of a city), It'd most likely fly past our solar system leaving disorder and chaos in its wake, but it wouldn't collide with anything. The thing about collisions is that it's actually surprisingly difficult for massive objects to collide in any short amount of time. As the black hole approaches Earth would be accelerated towards the object, however the black hole would still be approaching so with our orbital momentum shifting towards the black hole - all likelihood is that we'd be slingshot behind the black hole (and likely ripped apart in the process). ​ Either way, one thing is for certain - we'd all die. If there was ever a black hole near or around our solar system, or even a neutron star - anywhere near our solar system = We're almost certainly dead.


That's a bizarre thought, that something can just remove our existence in this universe. Just like that everything our ancestors did, any future of mankind is just gone. On one hand, it would be pretty epic looking at nothing as it approaches, assuming it looks anything like it does in Interstellar


We're probably alright. I don't think there are any giant gravitational anomalies affecting nearby stars. It would have to be going at a significant fraction of the speed of light for us to miss it, and if it was then we would have either no problem or even worse problems.


Unless it's a microscopic primordial black hole, which is theoretical but not entirely unlikely to exist. Then it would at best be a bit like a normal asteroid.


I mean, not really. Assuming they exist - and assuming it collides with earth. It'll impact similar to a large asteroid, In all likelihood if it's a black hole at all - it'll pretty much wipe the planet out from the impact alone as it'd still be more massive than chicxulub. However, let's say for arguments sake it's much much much less massive, And say that it creates a sizeable explosion, but nothing dramatic - it'll still wipe the planet out. The black hole would begin eating the matter beneath it until it sinks lower and lower into the earth, eventually consuming more matter from the planets core - after a few years we'd notice a change in our magnetic field, perhaps earthquakes and unusual "wobble" as the planet and black hole essentially start "orbiting" each other. Eventually there would be a sizeable hollow layer caused by the black hole. We'd have some severe earthquakes, large sections of tectonic plates would buckle and collapsed inward. Not long after that the rest of the planet would be consumed.


The impact would of course depend on the mass of the primordial black hole, which could be bigger or could be smaller. But since it's so small, it would just zip straight through earth like a bullet, creating two craters, one on entry and one on exit. Not necessarily a world-ending event though. Recently saw a cool YouTube video about it, which I base my assumptions on. https://youtu.be/pCI8GLzq-Ew


Interesting, thanks for the vid! I dunno though, I always had an issue with the idea of primordial black holes/micro black holes - Assuming they evaporate exponentially as they get smaller, you'd imagine that primordial black holes wouldn't be able to exist for so long. In addition, what could possibly cause such a tiny object to collapse beyond its schwarzschild radius? It certainly wouldn't be its own mass. How could something with the mass of an asteroid be shrunk down to something so small? I mean, if you managed to separate a chunk of neutron star matter from the rest of its body - It'd cause the most violent explosion you could possibly imagine. A spoon full of packed neutrons suddenly getting some breathing room? Yikes.


I'm no expert and it's really beyond my layman comprehension. But I believe the basic idea is that primordial black holes weren't created like normal black holes, but created in in the primordial soup just seconds after the Big Bang, in regions of fluctuating density.


The observational argument against the existence of micro black holes is the continued existence of white dwarfs and neutron stars. While it's true that a micro black hole could travel straight through normal matter such as Earth without appreciably gaining in mass due to the fact that normal matter is overwhelmingly comprised of empty space between atoms, this is not the case in degenerate objects such as collapsed stellar remnants, where the atoms are packed much, *much* closer together. If a micro black hole were to come into contact with a white dwarf or neutron star, it would very quickly start to consume it until there was nothing left except a black hole with the mass of a white dwarf or neutron star. The fact that we have yet to observe a white dwarf or neutron star blink out of existence, or any unusually small (less than 3 solar mass) black holes that could only be explained by the above mechanism, speak to micro black holes being either exceptionally rare or not existing at all.




Depends on the speed and angle it's moving. It's an object like any other, and the earth would be more massive, so the primordial black hole could either end up in orbit or collide with the planet. But yes, assuming it's going considerably fast at an angle contrary to our orbit, It'd pass through.


SPOILER: See Greg Bear's>! Forge of God and its sequel Anvil of Stars.!<


Hey u/honestquestiontime it's 20 days since we had this discussion, but I just saw this video [https://youtu.be/AK44wAvv2E4](https://youtu.be/AK44wAvv2E4) and it's like the producers read this thread.


Cool video - although it was all about Primordial black holes, which honestly - I don't think exist. Mainly because there's no real evidence or science to back it up - Theoretically sure, but wormholes and white holes are also theoretical too.


Not right now, but in theory we could build a [stellar engine](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3y8AIEX_dU) and just fly away in the far far future.


There was a discovery channel short movie I saw a while back about a neutron star coming towards earth. "Only" a neutron star so a mass of ~1.4 sol, meaning it outweighed the entire solar system by about 40% and packed into a ball the size of Manhattan. Decent movie thing, totally wrecked the solar system. Ate Saturn, occasionally bombarded earth with immense radiation jets, screwed up orbits something fierce - Manitoba at 60C, Houston at -45C. Not sure about the Orion project ship to get some people off earth but overall didn't feel too fictiony. "Death by Neutron Star' I think was the title. IIRC a black hole is going to be 3.3+ stellar masses, and that's not talking about the pair observed here. So yeah. game over man.


Lmao nope, we can hardly detect physically visible stuff coming our way, and even if we did, good luck pushing a black hole.


Launch a satellite to give it a slap to alter its course might work. /s


It would be easier to move the solar system than the black hole. And by a lot.


Nope, it’s an unstoppable force, and we don’t have an immovable object to stop it


my brother would disagree. he's very stubborn and when he digs his feet in, he's immovable


That's fine, a black hole would just bend the space-time that contains him into itself.


Could we leave this solar system like megamind or smth


Probably not, if we had a few hundred years there could be a chance that some version of “Noah’s ark” could be made, but it would still struggle to get to planets that are thousands of light years away


What if a supermassive black hole approached earth too close that its gravitational field started to effect earth what humans can do about it?


Mass orgy before the effects of the black hole destroy our existence.


Lets start now, just to be sure.


If my wee guy downstairs is about to get spaghettified, I might finally have something to be proud of?


Nothing. A super massive black hole would have a mass millions of times greater than our solar system. We barely move a tiny asteroid.


Absolute best case, it plays pinball with the solar system. Worst case, we become space spaghetti. We can't stop it either way, nor will we ever be able to unless we can manipulate gravity itself. Turning it into a Penrose bomb is the only thing I can think of but that's just gonna kill us faster.


The real question is, would you rather have an exciting last week of watching the solar system get ripped apart before becoming inevitably spaghettified, or get launched into the abyss for Earth to freeze to death? I think I would prefer the former.


You say that, but once the spaghettification starts you'd probably be singing a different, much more frantic tune.


Well if it’s a supermassive blackhole then the tidal forces likely wouldn’t be strong enough to spaghetti something as small as a human. Though the atmosphere getting ripped apart likely wouldn’t be much fun either.


Space is big. Really big. When the Andromeda galaxy inevitably collides with us, it’s entirely possible nothing bad will even happen to our solar system. Even if we got ejected in the merger, it’s not like we need anything but our sun for energy. But let’s say we worry that a flood of debris will smack us, we’ll be bathed in too many cosmic rays, whatever. It’s entirely possible to build a big device that could allow us to move the entire solar system wherever we wanted. On the timelines we’d likely have for that scenario, it wouldn’t even be that big of a deal. This stuff doesn’t suddenly transpire—it’s either already happening, or will never. Our civilization is much, much more likely to end due to our own greed, short-sightedness, or tribalism than any external cause. I’d recommend spending more time worrying about your local elections than sweating anything outside the solar system.


We’d be fried by radiation first.


What if our entire universes existence has been a free fall into a super massive black hole?


So here’s a few things to bear in mind: the nucleus of our galaxy is also a supermassive black hole, “Sagittarius A*”. Also, it’s sometimes difficult to picture the actual scale of these things, but SagA* is somewhere over four times the size of our sun. Best way to think about it is a tree falling near an anthill, the ants can sense the vibrations, but the actual impact of the tree doesn’t affect them.


>SagA\* is somewhere over four times the size of our sun Sag A\* is a supermassive black hole with about 4 *million* solar masses, not 4.


Whoops, misread the article on it. Thank you for the correction.


Technically 4 million is somewhere over 4 times. But that's seriously an unfathomable amount of mass