Scientists detect mysterious 'intermediate mass' black hole
Scientists detect mysterious 'intermediate mass' black hole
Up to now black holes with mass 100 to 1,000 times that of our Sun have never been found
05 September, 2020, 16:15
"This is the largest black hole that we have discovered with gravitational waves, and is what we would call an 'intermediate-mass black hole'". Do they grow from stellar-mass black holes, which are born when a star collapses, or are they born via an undiscovered means? He said, "There would be no way to see two black holes spinning around each other and colliding if not for gravitational waves".
The gravitational wave signal from the collision, detected by the LIGO and Virgo interferometers on 21 May 2019, was extremely short compared to previous collision detections. And the energy that it released through the universe is the equivalent to around eight solar masses, spreading out across the universe.
"They are the million solar-mass elephants in the room".
"It seems too massive to have been formed from a collapsed star, which is where black holes generally come from".
All the black holes observed before this detected signal were either stellar-mass black holes, or supermassive black holes.
The search is over.
How could a black hole form in the forbidden range?
The gravitational wave event only lasted about one-tenth of a second.
With this detection, LIGO has observed the unexpected and led to another breakthrough. Virgo is a gravitational-wave observatory in the Cascina commune of Italy.
Artist's impression of binary black holes about to collide.
The event has been catalogued as GW190521 in the research. This operates in three super-sensitive gravitational wave-detection systems in America and Europe.
"This doesn't look much like a chirp, which is what we typically detect", Virgo researcher Nelson Christensen, from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), said in a press release. That is, the LIGO-Virgo detectors are more sensitive to these mergers than others.
There are two special parts to the findings: one, the sizes of the pair of black holes, particularly the one that is 85 solar masses; and two, the final black hole itself.
It came from two black holes weighing in at 85 and 66 times the mass of the Sun, respectively. One of the two merging black holes falls in an "intermediate mass" range - a misfit that can not be explained by traditional knowledge of how black holes form.
Numerical simulation of two black holes that spiral in and merge, emitting gravitational waves.
"There are a number of different environments in which this system of two black holes could have formed, and the disk of gas surrounding a supermassive black hole is certainly one of them", said Dr. Vaishali Adya, a postdoctoral researcher in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) at the Australian National University. Ultimately, the core of such a star collapses under its own weight before rebounding back out as a dramatic supernova. These can contain hundreds of thousands of ancient stars: ideal breeding grounds for black holes.
Instead, when a star that large begins its death throes, a phenomenon known as "pair instability" kicks in, and the star becomes unstable to the point it avoids gravitational collapse - at least, for a while. As for the supermassive black holes, they have a mass range of millions to billions of Sun. But how did it form? Astronomers believe they are needed as building blocks for the supermassive black holes, and there is indirect evidence for their existence, but this may be the most convincing sighting yet, albeit right at the bottom of the range.
"Up to now we knew of two populations of black holes", Berry said. This is surprising, as black holes and their mergers are normally dark to telescopes. "It was very hard to interpret", says team member Alessandra Buonanno, director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute).
The process to discover this long-hunted black told required scientists to measure the shockwaves that the merger produced, also known as gravitational waves. The signal could also be from a cosmic string produced just after the universe inflated in its earliest moments - although neither of these exotic possibilities matches the data as well as a binary merger.
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