ESO Telescope Discovers Closest Pair of Supermassive Black Holes Yet

Close-up and wide views of the nearest pair of supermassive black holes.

This image shows close-up (left) and wide (right) views of the two bright galactic nuclei, each housing a supermassive black hole, in NGC 7727, a galaxy located 89 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. Each nucleus consists of a dense group of stars with a supermassive black hole at its centre. The two black holes are on a collision course and form the closest pair of supermassive black holes found to date. It is also the pair with the smallest separation between two supermassive black holes found to date — observed to be just 1600 light-years apart in the sky. (Image: on the left taken with the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile while the one on the right was taken with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope.)