Blackholes in Colliding Galaxies
Astronomers have used powerful adaptive optics technology at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to reveal the precise locations and environments of a pair of supermassive black holes at the center of an ongoing collision between two galaxies 300 million light-years away.
NGC 6240 is an ongoing collision of two gas-rich disk galaxies. Using adaptive optics at the Keck II Telescope, researchers have resolved young star clusters formed because of the merger (small blue dots), and have identified which features within the twin nuclei are associated with the two supermassive black holes known to inhabit the nuclear regions. The green vertical line represents one second of arc, or 1,600 light years at the distance of NGC 6240.
(Credit: C. Max, G. Canalizo, W. de Vries)
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