Super massive Black Holes

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nag622

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WOW! I just stumbled onto this sight, and I must say that I am almost intimidated even posting a question. I had always prided myself on having an above-average knowledge of space, but after reading alot of the Q&A's on previous threads.....Its like I never made it out of the first grade. Anyway, here it goes.<br /><br />The topic of black holes is great interest to me. I've often wondered what would happen if two super massive black holes were to collide. Would the larger of the two "swallow" the smaller? If so, would the resulting gravitational force be greater following the merge?<br /><br />I greatly appreciate any input you may be able to provide regarding this. If any of the previous postings are any indicator, I know I won't be disappointed!
 
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nexium

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I agree, a simple merger is most likely for a dead on collision. The new black hole would have 99.99 % of the combined mass, the rest being gravity waves etc. A glancing impact is however much more likely, and a very large speed difference could produce ten or more black holes most of which would merge in the next million years or so. There is, however, a possibility that several of the fragments would orbit each other for a trillion years = a million times a million years. They did escape very long term, but not forever. Neil
 
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lucas_900

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As a bit of an off shoot, today's [12 April '06] Astronomy Picture of the Day:<br />See here.<br />Caption:<br /> <b>Explanation:</b> The two bright sources at the center of this composite x-ray (blue)/ radio (pink) image are co-orbiting supermassive black holes powering the giant radio source 3C 75. Surrounded by multimillion degree x-ray emitting gas, and blasting out jets of relativistic particles the supermassive black holes are separated by 25,000 light-years. At the cores of two merging galaxies in the Abell 400 galaxy cluster they are some 300 million light-years away. Astronomers conclude that these two supermassive black holes are bound together by gravity in a binary system in part because the jets' consistent swept back appearance is most likely due to their common motion as they speed through the hot cluster gas at 1200 kilometers per second. Such spectacular cosmic mergers are thought to be common in crowded galaxy cluster environments in the distant universe. In their final stages the mergers are expected to be intense sources of gravitational waves.
 
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