Astronomers may have spotted light from colliding black holes

Rodiano Bonacci
Giugno 29, 2020

However, with the existence of a flare and for that reason light - which is a type of electromagnetic radiation - it appears that this assumption is incorrect, and that black holes can and do exist in regions with matter that can be heated or lit up.

Light-emitting black holes mergers aren't exactly a new idea. Astronomers have now confirmed this phenomenon for the first time in a new study. Their findings are available in the current issues of Physical Review Letters. As the black holes merged, jiggling space and time, they sent out gravitational waves.

"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, said in a statement.

Black holes in space are hard to observe. "These objects swarm like angry bees around the monstrous queen bee at the center".

Accretion disks are intense environments filled with gas, dust, stars and black holes.

"So the detection by ZTF, coupled with what we can learn from the gravitational waves, opens up a new avenue to study both black hole mergers and these disks around supermassive black holes". "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 can not completely rule out other possibilities". "NSF support of new technology continues to expand how we can track such events".

This story isn't about gravitaional waves, though. It was only when a team of scientists went back to look through archived data, they found the signal, which started days after the initial event.

The scientists provide evidence that the black hole may have collided with another, producing an unexpected flare in space.

Matthew Graham, of the California Institute of Technology's (Caltech) Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), said the flare most likely came from a supermassive black hole merger, but the researchers can not be sure.

What is more, the team says it is not likely that the flare came from the usual rumblings of the supermassive black hole, which regularly feeds off its surrounding disk.

Their observations show that the behaviour of the black hole was fairly constant over the last 15 years.

"Supermassive black holes like this one have flares all the time. They are not quiet objects, but the timing, size, and location of this flare was spectacular", said co-author Mansi Kasliwal.

Black holes are typically invisible, swallowing up everything around them, including light.

The newly formed black hole should cause another flare in the next few years.

It doesn't get any blacker than a black hole, the densest object in the universe.

The paper, titled, "A Candidate Electromagnetic Counterpart to the Binary Black Hole Merger Gravitational Wave Event GW190521g", was funded by the NSF, NASA, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the GROWTH (Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen) program.

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