Biggest known black hole merger detected

Federico Mansilla
Diciembre 6, 2018

Individual collisions are no longer huge news stories-instead, astronomy has entered an era of in which gravitational waves are simply another tool to understand the universe, and new advances come from observing many gravitational wave events.

GW170814 was the first binary black hole merger measured by the three-detector network, and allowed for the first tests of gravitational-wave polarization (analogous to light polarization). When gravitational waves were first physically detected in 2015, it was a major first. The scene is now set to begin understanding the cosmos' black hole factories.

Gravitational waves are considered ripples in the fabric of spacetime.

After the initial observing runs were concluded, scientists recalibrated and cleaned the collected data. With these 11 new events, researchers now have a wealth of new data and opportunities to explore gravitational waves and the events that create them.

LONDON-Gravitational waves have been picked up from the biggest black hole merger yet detected. It was such a flawless signal that scientists thought it was a prank pulled off by a hacker.

You can read about what happens to the colliding black holes more generally in the article linked below, but in short, they combine into a bigger black hole and release excess mass as energy that travels as gravitational waves.

All that hard work paid off with the discovery of GW170729, GW170809, GW170818, and GW170823, referencing the dates on which the black holes were detected. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others. The second observing run, which lasted from November 30, 2016, to August 25, 2017, yielded one binary neutron star merger and seven additional binary black hole mergers, including the four new gravitational-wave events being reported now.

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Gravitational waves carry information about their origins and about the nature of gravity that can not otherwise be obtained. To date, no such mergers have conclusively been detected, though it's possible the famous "kilonova" detection discovered previous year involved two neutron stars.

"Gravitational waves give us unprecedented insight into the population and properties of black holes", Chris Pankow, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University, said in a statement - for example, that most black holes formed by stars encompass less than 45 suns' worth of material. "Our new project will help to provide critical information about what we get from the merger of two neutron stars".

Australian team's Professor Susan Scott says she has spent most of her career hoping to detect gravitational waves and technology advancements were finally giving scientists answers.

Astrophysicists now believe there are about 10,000 black holes at the centre of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, all of which surround a supermassive black hole at its core.

Many of these black hole seeds then merge to form much larger supermassive black holes, which are found at the centre of every known massive galaxy.

It is believed that the gravitational force of a black hole can influence space and time.

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