This image shows Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

How dancing black holes got close enough to merge

The many black hole mergers detected by gravitational-wave observatories suggest that black holes collide with each other much more often than we thought. Now, new research suggests a way for black holes to merge quickly: They must be captured by the accretion disk of a supermassive companion star.

Astrophysically speaking, it is relatively easy to get two black hole close to each other.Either they were born offspring of one person binary star system, or they meet randomly in the depths of interstellar space. Once in orbit, they can stay put, circling each other endlessly.

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