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Evidence of Orbiting Black Holes?

  1. Dec 1, 2013 #1
    Do we have any evidence that either:

    1. There exist stellar black holes which orbit supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies, or

    2. There exist black hole pairs which orbit each other, around their shared center of mass?

    And if the second scenario were to exist, what would happen if/when their event horizons were to intersect?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2013 #2


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    Gold Member

    I can only address your last question. If two black holes get close to each other (and certainly having their event horizons touch would be very close) they will merge into one larger black hole. It is believe that this process will send out gravity waves but we have not yet been able to detect gravity waves.
  4. Dec 1, 2013 #3


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    Science Advisor

    There are several strong candidates for galaxies which have two supermassive black holes orbiting each other at their center. Here is one of the strongest candidates. Eventually they will merge into a single black hole and emit a burst of gravitational waves, as phinds said.
  5. Dec 1, 2013 #4
    Very cool. Thanks.

    We can assume that the spacing between the black holes is greater than the radius of the two event horizons. What would the area near the center of gravity be like? I assume relatively mild tidal forces, given that they are large black holes. Is the space time near the center of mass "turbulent"? if so, what sorts of effects might one observe?
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