News of the WeekAstrophysics

'Winged' Galaxies Point to Black Hole Mergers

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Science  02 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5582, pp. 753-754
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5582.753a

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X literally may mark the spot as astrophysicists hunt for colliding black holes. Results of a new mathematical model, published online this week by Science, maintain that cross-shaped radio galaxies harbor massive black holes that suddenly flipped their spins, probably by absorbing black holes from other galaxies. When combined with a census of these distinctive galaxies, the model suggests that such titanic encounters happen about once a year in the cosmos.