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4th Sep Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020
Astronomers detect biggest collision of ‘impossible’ black holes
WHY IN NEWS:
- On May 21, 2019, a short gravitational wave signal came from two gigantic black holes weighing at least 85 and 66 times the mass of the sun.
- On September 2, 2020, the astronomers declared it the biggest collision ever detected that led to the formation of a black hole 150 times the mass of the sun.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Space
The collision was observed by – Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the European-based Virgo detector and VIRGO Scientific Collaboration.
According to astronomers,
- Any black hole 65-130 the mass of the sun is ‘impossible’ to exist.
- And any star big enough to create such a massive black hole should destroy itself upon collapse via a process called pair instability.
SO HOW DID THESE TWO BLACK HOLES COLLIDE?
- Scientist think of black holes as the vacuum cleaners of the Universe.
- The black holes also suck in other black holes.
- This makes it possible to produce bigger and bigger black holes by the ongoing collisions of earlier generations of black holes.
MERGING BLACK HOLES
- That is, astronomers believe the smaller black holes could have already been the products of previous mergers.
- There have been no conclusive electromagnetic observations for IMBHs in the mass range 100-1,000 solar masses.
- Analysis of the gravitational wave signal detected suggested the two black holes merged when the universe was seven billion years old, which is about half its current age.
- The signal lasted only one-tenth of a second, but is the most distant gravitational wave signal detected so far.
- Every observation about two black holes colliding gives us new and surprising information about the lives of black holes throughout the universe.