Can Black Holes Swallow Other Black Holes?

Question:  Can a black hole be swallowed by a super massive black hole? And if it could, how would we be able to see it?  – Shayna

Answer:  Yes.  If such an event occurred, and we were looking in the place to be able to see it, we would likely see a burst of high-energy radiation, which we can see as intense x-ray emission from such an event.  An example of such a merger of black holes that might happen in the future has been observed in the galaxy merger system NGC3393 by the Chandra x-ray observatory.  I hope that this answers your question.

Jeff Mangum


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2 Responses to Can Black Holes Swallow Other Black Holes?

  1. wyatt says:

    Wait. In the x-ray in the link it doesn’t really look like much can someone explain it to me?

    • Jeff Mangum says:

      The x-ray image shown in the linked movie within the article above is showing us where the hottest gas in the center of this merging galaxy system is located. You can see that the hot gas seems to be located in not one but two concentrations (we often use the highly technical term “blob” to describe such objects). By studying the energy output from these two blobs of xray emission we can calculate what energy source is needed to produce this emission. Apparently the scientists who did this work concluded that black holes were required as the energy sources for both concentrations.

      Jeff Mangum

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