Journey to the closest pair of supermassive black holes

This video takes us to NGC 7727, a galaxy located 89 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Aquarius and home to the closest pair of supermassive black holes found to date. The pair is also the one with the smallest separation between two supermassive black holes — observed to be just 1600 light-years apart in the sky.

Each of the two black holes is located at the centre of one of the two bright nuclei in NGC 7727 visible in the final part of the video. The two black holes are on a collision course, doomed to crash together and merge into one giant black hole probably within the next 250 million years.

The close-up view of the central region of NGC 7727 and its two nuclei was taken with the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile.


ESO/L. Calçada ; N. Risinger (; Digitized Sky Survey 2; VST ATLAS team; Voggel et al. Music: Azul Cobalto

About the Video

Release date:30 November 2021, 14:00
Related releases:eso2211, eso2117
Duration:50 s
Frame rate:25 fps

About the Object

Name:NGC 7727
Type:Local Universe : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Black Hole
Category:Quasars and Black Holes

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