Giant black hole pair photobombs Andromeda Galaxy

Chandra X-ray Observatory data for J0045+41 (inset, blue region) in the context of optical images of Andromeda from the Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA/CXC/University of Washington/ESA)

It seems like even black holes can’t resist the temptation to insert themselves unannounced into photographs. A cosmic photobomb found as a background object in images of the nearby Andromeda galaxy has revealed what could be the most tightly coupled pair of supermassive black holes ever seen.

As they report in a paper published online Nov. 20 in The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers from the University of Washington made this discovery using X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical data from two ground-based telescopes, Gemini-North in Hawaii and the Palomar Transient Factory in California.

Read the full story at UW News, and a post by Trevor Dorn-Wallenstein on the Chandra blog.