Origin of binary black holes may be hidden in their spins, study suggests

(ORDO NEWS) — A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used various computer models to study 69 confirmed black hole binaries to determine their origin. and found that the results of their data changed depending on the configurations of the model.

In essence, the input has been constantly changing the output, and researchers want to better understand how and why this happens, and what steps can be taken to get more data. consistent results.

“When you change the model and make it more flexible or make different assumptions, you get a different answer about how black holes formed in the universe,” Silvia Biscoveanu, an MIT graduate student at the LIGO Lab and co-author of the study, said in a statement.

“We are showing that people need to be careful because we are not yet at the stage with our data where we can trust what the model is telling us.”

Like binary stars, binary blackholes are two massive objects orbiting each other, both of which can potentially collide or merge with each other, and another common characteristic is that black holes sometimes result from the collapse of dying massive stars, also known as a supernova.

But how black hole binaries came into existence remains a mystery, as there are currently two hypotheses regarding their formation: “field binary evolution” and “dynamic assembly.”

Field binary evolution involves when a pair of binary stars explode, resulting in two black holes in their place, which continue to orbit each other in the same way as before.

Since they originally orbited each other as binary stars, it is believed that their rotations and tilts must be aligned, as well as.

Scientists also speculate that their aligned rotations indicate they originated from the galactic disk, given its relatively peaceful environment.

Dynamic assembly involves when two separate black holes, each with their own unique slope and sp, end up combined by extreme astrophysical processes to form their own binary black hole system.

It is currently assumed that this pairing is likely to occur in a dense environment such as a globular cluster, where thousands of stars in close proximity could bring two black holes together.

The real question is: what fraction of binary black holes result from each respective method? Astronomers believe that the answer lies in the data, in particular in measurements of the rotation of black holes.

Using 69 confirmed binary black holes, astronomers have determined that these massive objects could originate from both globular clusters and galactic disks.

The LIGO lab in the United States worked with its Italian counterpart Virgo to establish the spins (rotation periods) of 69 confirmed binary black holes.

“But we wanted to know, do we have enough data to make that distinction?” Biskovyanu said. “And it turns out, things are confusing and uncertain, and it’s more complicated than it looks.”

For the study, the researchers continually tweaked a series of computer models to ensure their results were consistent with each model’s predictions. .

One such model was configured to assume that only a fraction of binary black holes were created with aligned spins, while the rest had random spins. Another model was tuned to predict a moderately contrasting rotational orientation.

In the end, their results showed that the results were constantly changing according to the modified models.

In fact, the results are constantly changing. based on model settings, meaning that more data than the 69 confirmed binary black holes are likely to be needed to get more consistent results.

“Our paper shows that your result depends entirely on how you model your astrophysics, not the data itself,” Biscoveanu said.

“We need more data than we thought if we want to make a statement that is independent of the astrophysical assumptions we have made,” said Salvatore Vitale, associate professor of physics, member of the Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. Kavli at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lead author of the study.

But how much more data will astronomers need? Vitale estimates that the LIGO network will be able to detect one new binary black hole every few days once the network is back online in early 2023.

“The spin measurements we have now are very uncertain.” Vitale said.

“But because we create a lot of them, we can get better information. Then we can say that regardless of the details of my model, the data always tells me the same story – a story that we could then believe.

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