VLBA 2 cm image of the radio galaxy 0402+379, which hosts two active supermassive black holes at its center. The location of each supermassive black hole is indicated on the image by an artist's conception of an accretion disk with narrow twin jets. These results are based upon multi-epoch, multi-frequency monitoring with the VLBA. The projected separation between the two black holes is 7.3 parsecs, making this the most compact binary black hole pair yet found by more than two orders of magnitude. The combined mass of the system is estimated at ~1.5 x 10^8 solar masses, and assuming equal masses the orbital period is 150,000 years. Though gravitational radiation from this system is not yet enough to cause the orbit to decay, the discovery of this system has implications for the number of compact binary black holes that might be detectable sources of gravitational radiation.
Legacy Astronomical Images
NRAO/AUI/NSF does not hold full copyright for this image. Contact the archivist for details.
Legacy Astronomical Image
Greg Taylor, University of New Mexico
C. Rodriguez, G. B. Taylor, R. T. Zavala, A. B. Peck, L. K. Pollack, R. W. Romani
Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)
Type of Observation
Center of Image
RA 4:5:49.262, Dec: 38:3:32.235
Field of View
0.000014 x 0.000010 degrees
Contact the archivist for a high resolution tif of this image.
Active Galactic Nuclei Series
Radio Galaxies Unit
Legacy Astronomical Images, “0402+379,” NRAO Archives, accessed December 3, 2021, https://www.nrao.edu/archives/items/show/33355.