Minimum credit line: Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI and Greg Taylor, University of New Mexico(for details, see Image Use Policy).

About this Image

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.

Investigator(s):  C. Rodriguez, G. B. Taylor, R. T. Zavala, A. B. Peck, L. K. Pollack, and R. W. Romani

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Technical Data

    Telescope VLBA 
    Date of Observation 2005-01-24 
    Type of Observation Continuum Observations 
    Band U 
    Wavelength 2.0 cm 
    Frequency 15 GHz 
    Center of Image RA: 04:05:49.26, Dec: 38:03:32.23  
    Field of View 0.0000 x 0.0000 degrees  

  • Astronomical database entries for 0402 379
    • Query NED for images of 0402 379
    • Query SIMBAD for more 0402 379 data


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