Probably captured light from colliding black holes: Scientists

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Flipboard
  • Email
  • WhatsApp
Probably captured light from colliding black holes: Scientists
Probably captured light from colliding black holes: Scientists

New Delhi : Even if black holes collide with each other it is unlikely that they would produce any kind of light because of their very nature, but it has been learned or rather claimed by the scientists that they have captured light from such incident in a rare scenario.

A team using May 2019 data from both the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Europe’s Virgo detector has spotted what appears to be the first known instance of a “flare of light” from two merging black holes.

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology spotted a strange flare of light from supermassive black hole J1249+3449 using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) at Palomar Observatory. They tracked its source to an area also being studied by the famous LIGO observatory which looks for gravitational waves from colliding black holes.

“This supermassive black hole was burbling along for years before this more abrupt flare,” Matthew Graham, a research professor of astronomy at Caltech and the project scientist for ZTF, explained in a statement. “The flare occurred on the right timescale, and in the right location, to be coincident with the gravitational-wave event. In our study, we conclude that the flare is likely the result of a black hole merger, but we cannot completely rule out other possibilities.”

“At the center of most galaxies lurks a supermassive black hole. It’s surrounded by a swarm of stars and dead stars, including black holes,” co-author K. E. Saavik Ford explained in the statement. “These objects swarm like angry bees around the monstrous queen bee at the center. They can briefly find gravitational partners and pair up but usually lose their partners quickly to the mad dance. But in a supermassive black hole’s disk, the flowing gas converts the mosh pit of the swarm to a classical minuet, organizing the black holes so they can pair up,” she said.

Many galaxies have supermassive black holes at their center whose giant gas disk can merge smaller black holes. When that happens, the newly unified black hole can be sent off in an unusual direction through the disk, sparking a gas reaction days or weeks after the gravitational waves appear. The timing of the flare lined up with this, and it even gradually faded away over the course of a month.