Black holes accidentally collided in the outskirts of space: contrary to existing theories
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Astrophysicists have witnessed the strangest and lightning-fast merger of two black holes.
The ripples in space-time that result from the collision of black holes can tell scientists a lot about black holes themselves. Gravitational waves contain information about the mass, shape and even the location of black holes in relation to each other, writes ScienceAlert.
Based on all the information received, astronomers believe that most of these collisions occurred between black holes in binary systems . For example, at first it was a system of two massive stars, which over time turned into black holes and began to converge in a spiral until they collided.
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But recently, scientists have witnessed a black hole merger that does not fit into any of the previously observed scenarios. Object GW19052 launched very powerful space-time oscillations.
“The gravitational waves from the collision looked more like an explosion, the incident was very different from our previous observations,” says Rossella Gamba, astrophysicist at the University of Jena in Germany.According to her, it was difficult to explain the too short and sharp gravitational wave signal from the collision.
The fact is that not only the collision of black holes generates gravitational waves, but also the process of approaching objects.
“A signal less than a tenth of a second long indicated that two black holes had merged instantly, skipping each other in a spiral,” says Alessandro Nagar, an astronomer at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Italy.
There are several scenarios for the appearance of a pair of approaching black holes. In the first scenario, black holes can coexist since the time when they were both stars. In the second case, two black holes could pass each other close enough to gravitationally “hook” in the so-called dynamic collision.
At first, scientists believed that the observed collision occurred according to the second scenario. Then a simulation was created, where experts collided black holes, taking into account the parameters of real objects.
The results showed that the collision occurred according to the most unexpected scenario. Two black holes got into a gravitational interaction, tumbled twice in a wild loop, and then collided, after which one large black hole appeared. And none of the colliding black holes were spinning.
Scientists suggest that such a scenario is possible in a densely populated region of space, such as a star cluster, where there are more massive objects with powerful gravity.