Black Hole Collisions Help Astronomers Better Understand Their Evolution
A new research has led astrophysicists to new insights that can help resolving equations that tend to explain the black hole merger and enigmatic gravitational waves — a form of radiation hypothesized by Albert Einstein.
Astronomers from the University of Cambridge observed the collision of black holes. When these spinning black holes collide and eventually merge in a single body, huge amount of energy is emitted as gravitational waves. This gob of energy makes it the most energetic event after the big bang.
Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts this emission of gravitational waves in consequence of merger of orbiting black holes. Though the existence of these waves has been entrenched, they haven’t been physically detected. The results of the study, detailed in the journal Physical Review Letters, can enable astronomers to ‘see’ gravitational waves and thus pave the way for study of universe.
Dr Michael Kesden of the University of Texas at Dallas, the paper’s lead author said:
“An accelerating charge, like an electron, produces electromagnetic radiation, including visible light waves, similarly, any time you have an accelerating mass, you can produce gravitational waves.”
Using optical telescopes, it is possible for astronomers to observe the objects with visible light like stars and planets. Similarly radio and infrared telescopes can provide revelations for the invisible energetic events. If the astronomers succeed in observing the gravitational waves, this can literally revolutionize the astrophysical studies.
“Using gravitational waves as an observational tool, you could learn about the characteristics of the black holes that were emitting those waves billions of years ago, information such as their masses and mass ratios, and the way they formed.
“That’s important data for more fully understanding the evolution and nature of the universe,” co-author and PhD student Davide Gerosa, of Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics reflected on the significance of the study.
Direct observation of the gravitational waves won’t be an onerous task once the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the US and VIRGO in Europe are upgraded, which is expected this year.
“The equations that we solved will help predict the characteristics of the gravitational waves that LIGO would expect to see from binary black hole mergers,” said co-author Dr Ulrich Sperhake, who, along with Gerosa, is also a member of Cambridge’s Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. “We’re looking forward to comparing our solutions to the data that LIGO collects.”