UCR astronomers helped identify three giant black holes within a titanic collision of three galaxies. To uncover this rare black hole trifecta, researchers needed to combine data from telescopes both on the ground and in space. “We had to put together many pieces of evidence to form a final picture that convincingly showed this was a merger of three active galactic nuclei.”
Canalizo explained that triple merging active galactic nuclei, or AGN, are interesting because they provide a way for supermassive black holes to merge more easily: One of the black holes can take away some of the energy from the system, so that the other two can “sink” into each other.
More information can be found at the UCR press release.