Aug. 28, 2021

Indian researchers have discovered three supermassive black holes from three galaxies merging together to form a triple active galactic nucleus, a compact region at the center of a newly discovered galaxy that has a much-higher-than-normal luminosity.


  • This rare occurrence in our nearby Universe indicates that small merging groups are ideal laboratories to detect multiple accreting supermassive black holes and increases the possibility of detecting such rare occurrences.

  • Supermassive black holes are difficult to detect because they do not emit any light. But they can reveal their presence by interacting with their surroundings.

  • When the dust and gas from the surroundings fall onto a supermassive black hole, some of the mass is swallowed by the black hole, but some of it is converted into energy and emitted as electromagnetic radiation that makes the black hole appear very luminous.

  • They are called active galactic nuclei (AGN) and release huge amounts of ionized particles and energy into the galaxy and its environment. Both of these ultimately contribute to the growth of the medium around the galaxy and ultimately the evolution of the galaxy itself.

  • Many AGN pairs have been detected in the past, but triple AGN are extremely rare, and only a handful has been detected before using X-ray observations.

Source : PIB