‘Alien’ Black Hole Bigger Than Any Before Sends Wave Through Universe
A black hole that is so large it defies the theories we know about their existence has been discovered by astronomers.
Scientists have detected a gravitational wave from the hole, which is said to be 142 times the mass of the sun, making it the biggest to ever be observed with gravitational waves.
The energy that is released by the massive black hole is equivalent to approximately eight solar masses, which are spread out across the universe.
So, that’s pretty big, huh?
Nelson Christensen, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research who helped pick up the signal, explained, as per the Independent:
This doesn’t look much like a chirp, which is what we typically detect. This is more like something that goes ‘bang’, and it’s the most massive signal [the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory] and [the Virgo interferometer] have seen.
Experts are still baffled over how the black hole could have come into existence in the first place, with mystery surrounding how such a powerful blast could have been sent out.
Karan Jani, a researcher from Vanderbilt University who was involved in the research, added:
The system we’ve discovered is so bizarre that it breaks a number of previous assumptions about how black holes form.
We took more than a year to confirm this alien black hole’s existence and are thrilled to be sharing this discovery with the world.
It’s possible that the black hole could’ve been formed when two slightly less massive black holes collided, before hitting a third black hole to create the supersize.
However, Alan Weinstein, professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology, says this discovery actually poses more questions than it answers.
‘From the perspective of discovery and physics, it’s a very exciting thing,’ he added.
Scientists have been delving into black holes born out of a collision of two others using gravitational waves since 2015 – but this discovery really is something else.
The massive black hole has been named GW190521 and was first seen in May last year by LIGO and BIRGO, when its gravitational waves were detected in Italy and the US. The astronomers were alerted to its existence by a signal consisting of four short wiggles that lasted for less than a tenth of a second.
Because of the short nature of the signal, the researchers note that there’s every chance the powerful blast could’ve been formed by something far more complex, but the most likely explanation is the merging of two black holes.
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