Scientists have found the nearest pair of supermassive dark holes, located just 1,600 miles apart in space. The black holes spiral toward a collision and scientists believe they are close together.

  • It has been shown that the closest supermassive black hole pair to Earth was ever observed
  • Scientists estimated that the two objects could be located approximately 89,000,000 light-years from Earth.
  • They are separated by 1,600 light-years and eventually will merge into one giant black hole.
  • These were discovered by the Very Large Telescope at European Southern Observatory.

Astronomers have observed the closest supermassive black hole pair to Earth.

They said the two objects — which are just 1,600 light-years apart — also have a much smaller separation than any other previously spotted pair of supermassive black holes and will eventually merge into one giant black hole.

Scientists detected them using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and said they were about 89 million light-years away from Earth.

Discovery: The closest pair of supermassive black holes to Earth ever seen have been observed by astronomers. Two bright galactic nuclei, each consisting of a dense group of stars with a supermassive black hole at its centre, are pictured in a close up image above

Astronomers have observed the closest supermassive black hole pair to Earth. In the above close-up image, you can see two bright galactic nuclei made up of dense groups of stars and a supermassive dark hole in their centre.


NGC 7727 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Aquarius that is about 89 million light-years away from Earth.

William Herschel discovered it for the first time in 1785.

Many star streams and plumes have been associated with this galaxy. Astronomers suspect that they are the results of a merger between a spiral galaxy approximately one billion year ago.

At the heart of it is a supermassive black hole that has a mass almost 154 million times that of our sun.

The black hole is located 1,600 light years away and is thought to be 6.3 million solar mass.

It was discovered that the larger black hole at the center of NGC7727’s galaxy, Aquarius, has a mass nearly 154,000,000 times greater than our sun. The companion, however, is only 6.3 million solar masses.

Experts were able to determine these masses by looking at how the gravitational pull of the black holes influences the motion of the stars around them.  

Researchers claim that this is the first time masses for two supermassive blackholes have been done in this manner. 

It was possible because of Earth’s proximity and precise observations by scientists using VLTs at Paranal Observatory in Chile, and data from Hubble Space telescope. 

The existence of the black holes was suspected by astronomers, however they have not yet been confirmed.

This is due to the fact that we don’t see high-energy radiation from them in their immediate environment, which could otherwise make it difficult for us to identify them. 

According to Karina Voggel from the University of Strasbourg, “Our findings suggest that there could be more of these relics of galaxie mergers out in the wild and may even contain hidden massive black holes.”

“It could raise the number of supermassive dark holes in the local universe to 30 percent.”

The search for similarly hidden supermassive black hole pairs is expected to make a great leap forward with the new Extremely Large Telescope is (ELT), and will be operational in Chile’s Atacama Desert by the end of this decade. 

The two black holes are on a collision course and form the closest pair of supermassive black holes found to date. The galactic nuclei that each is apart of are pictured in a close up image (left) and a wide one (right)

They are on an collision course, and make up the closest supermassive black hole pair. The galactic nuclei that each is apart of are pictured in a close up image (left) and a wide one (right)

Scientists detected the black holes using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (pictured) and said they were about 89 million light-years away from Earth

Scientists discovered black holes with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.

‘This detection of a supermassive black hole pair is just the beginning,’ said co-author Steffen Mieske, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. 

“With the HARMONI tool on the ELT, we will now be able make detections such as this much further than is currently possible. 

These objects will only be understood if ELT from the ESO is used.

In 1962, the European Southern Observatory was created as an intergovernmental organization.

It has 16 member countries, which include France, Germany Spain, Spain, and the United Kingdom. 

The black hole discovery has been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.


European Southern Observatory (ESO), constructed the largest telescope to be built in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

This telescope is known as the Very Large Telescope (VLT). Widely considered one of most sophisticated optical instruments ever produced.

It consists of four telescopes, whose Main mirrors measure 27ft (8.2m) in diameter.

Four movable six-foot (1.8 meter) diameter auxiliary telescopes are available.

Large telescopes are known as Antu, Kueyen and Melipal. 

The European Southern observatory (ESO) built the most powerful telescope ever made in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile and called it the Very Large Telescope (VLT).

European Southern Observatory (ESO), built the strongest telescope in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. It was called the Very Large Telescope (VLT) by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Antu was the first Unit Telescope to enter routine scientific operations.

Together, the telescopes could form an enormous ‘interferometer’.

It filters the images so that no obscuring objects are visible. This allows astronomers to see details 25 times better than they could with individual telescopes.  

It has been involved in spotting the first image of an extrasolar planet as well as tracking individual stars moving around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.

The afterglow from the farthest Gamma Ray Burst was also seen.