Surely, you must have seen clashes and collision between people, cars, groups, animals, and what not. But have you imagined what would it be like if two giant black holes collide with one another? What would the scene be like? How loud would the bang be (if any)? And most importantly, what would the end result be like?
It appears that last week astronomers were able to detect what they say is the loudest, most massive and most violent collision of black holes so far.
According to a report in the New York Times, two massive black holes crashed into each other 7 billion years ago.
The collision created vibrating space-time and produced a loud, sharp chirp (like a bang), the report said, quoting one of the astronomers who was involved in the discovery.
The loud sound reportedly lasted “just one-tenth of a second” in the antennas of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational (LIGO)-Wave Observatory and the Virgo interferometer observatory.
“That short signal from a galaxy far, far away has left astrophysicists with new questions about how black holes form and grow,” the report said.
Terming the discovery as “truly surprising”, Daniel Holz, a theorist at the University of Chicago, told NYT that the discovery was “the first LIGO/Virgo detection that’s truly surprising”.
He said all other binary systems that the team has detected “fit reasonably well within expectations”. “But the black holes in this event aren’t supposed to exist!” he was quoted as saying.
Besides this, the other interesting aspect with the discovery, according to the report, is that either one or perhaps both of the colliding black holes were so massive that it is unlikely that they were produced by the collapse of a star.
But what did this collision of two massive black holes 7 billion years result in?
Answer: An even bigger black hole. According to the NYT report, the new black hole was “142 times as massive as the sun” and it belonged to a whole new category of intermediate-mass, or “missing link,” black holes never reliably seen before.
Experts say that this collision of massive black holes took place at a distance that is “almost unimaginable” from Earth i.e. 17 billion light-years away, according to standard cosmological calculations that describe an expanding universe.
“One black hole with 85 times the mass of the sun, and a second with 66 solar masses, collided, creating a black hole 142 times as massive as the sun. Another eight or so suns’ worth of mass and energy disappeared into gravitational waves, ripples of the space-time fabric, in a split second of frenzy, ringing the universe like a bell on the morning of May 21, 2019,” the NYT report said.
The original research was published in two papers in the Physical Review Letters and The Astrophysical Journal Letters.