Science

Middleweight black holes finally found-but they pose a puzzle

Middleweight black holes finally found-but they pose a puzzle”

In a 2014 paper published in the journal Science, Natarajan and her colleague proposed that the creation of black holes similar to the 142 solar-mass one discovered a year ago could have come within a dense cluster of stars, much in the way the new discovery has been observed (though in her paper, the black hole was larger). A team of astronomers has spotted an ancient clash between two black holes, which led to the formation of one with an impressive size.

Historically, the black holes that astronomers have found come in two distinct sizes: stellar black holes (aka collapsars), which are born from the implosion of dying stars and have a mass range of 5 to several tens that of their stellar mass, and supermassive black holes, which have a mass range of millions to billions that of our Sun. The larger of the two black holes is considered "impossible". This operates in three super-sensitive gravitational wave-detection systems in America and Europe.

GW190521's source is the most distant gravitational-wave source detected so far.

Pedro Marronetti, program director for gravitational physics at the National Science Foundation, said, "LIGO once again surprises us not just with detecting black holes in sizes that are hard to explain, but doing it using techniques that were not designed specifically for stellar mergers". They also suck in other black holes and it is possible to produce bigger and bigger black holes by the ongoing collisions of earlier generations of black holes. Astronomers used LIGO and Virgo to capture and interpret the signal.

That merging black hole, which had a mass of 85 Suns, is definitely in this gap.

Scientists studying the wave believe the source is around 17 billion light years away from the Earth, making it one of the furthest away waves detected so far. Or, as Virgo spokesperson Giovanni Losurdo said: "The observations made by Virgo and LIGO are shedding light on the dark universe and defining a new cosmic landscape".

The team behind the discovery suggest that the larger object may have been the result of a previous black hole merger rather than a single collapsing star.

According to the studies carried out, the gravitational wave was generated 7,000 million light-years from us.

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The event is also special because at least one of the original black holes shouldn't have existed at all, said Isobel Romero-Shaw, a PhD candidate at Monash University who was also involved in the discovery.

"The mass of the larger black hole in the pair puts it into the range where it's unexpected from regular astrophysics processes", principal investigator Peter Shawhan of the University of Maryland said in a news release from the university. After another few billion years, the black holes spiral in and merge.

Simulation showing gravitational waves rippling out from the pre-merger inspiral.

The gravitational wave event was named GW190521. They have theorised the existence of intermediate-mass black holes with masses between 100 and 100,000 solar masses, but we have never observed them. The bigger black hole is so massive - 85 times the mass of the sun - that scientists say it shouldn't even exist based on the current understanding of stellar explosions.

One of the black holes was 1,5 times larger than those ever recorded in a black hole merger. It is such a shape where the stars that form a black hole become so hot in the center that they begin to convert photons into particle-antiparticle pairs.

"This event opens more questions than it provides answers", said Alan Weinstein, LIGO member and a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology, in a statement. Then there are supermassive black holes, which can be found at the centre of most galaxies. It is the first "intermediate mass" black hole ever observed.

"We have very limited theoretical and observational understanding of this elusive class of intermediate black hole". A gravitational shockwave occurred due to a merger between two black holes that produced a mass 142 times of the Sun. He said, "There would be no way to see two black holes spinning around each other and colliding if not for gravitational waves". "And so we predict that if you make two in that way, they can not be the same mass, they will be different. and that's what is seen now, so that's kind of exciting".



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