A grouping of distant, massive black holes thought to be operating independently of each other may actually share a common thread.
A new paper led by the University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape, both in South Africa, suggests their jets are all aligned in the same direction.
These entities are located millions of light years apart in an area of space known as ELAIS-N1. Andrew Russ Taylor, one of the study’s principal authors, is quoted as saying, “Since these black holes don’t know about each other, or have any way of exchanging information or influencing each other directly over such vast scales, this spin alignment must have occurred during the formation of the galaxies in the early universe.”
Cosmos Magazine reports that the team determined a less-than-0.1 percent chance of such an occurrence happening in an entirely random way.
While the exact cause is unknown, the aligning force could involve a magnetic field or cosmic strings that act like a fault line.
The data used in the study was collected over three years through India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope.