(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers first detected gravitational waves emitting from black holes in 2020 using the LIGO and Virgo observatories.
Two years after studying their characteristics, the researchers confirm that one of the black holes turned around at a tremendous, previously unseen speed.
The hole that the researchers observed swirled and returned 10 billion times faster than any black hole that had been observed before.
The impact on space-time was so strong that both black holes trembled – or processed – in their orbits.
Einstein was right
The black holes in question are many times more massive than the Sun – the largest of them is 40 times more massive than our star. For the first time, astronomers caught a signal from them in 2020.
Since then, scientists have been accumulating more and more new data about the GW200129 event, allowing them to uncover the secrets of such an epic collision.
Scientists have observed the process of precession in different objects, but never on such large objects.
However, Einstein’s general theory of relativity more than a hundred years ago stipulated that precession should also occur in binary black holes.
And now, astronomers have been able to observe this rare phenomenon with their own eyes for the first time, after five years of studying gravitational waves.
Trembling before the merger
The authors of an article published in the journal Nature suggest that the black holes of GW200129 were in a chaotic relationship to their powerful merger.
As they pulled each other into shrinking orbits, they began to tremble like tops, precessing several times a second. This is 10 billion times faster than the precession rate of any other object known to scientists.
This discovery not only confirms Einstein’s point, but also raises the question of how common such events are.
They are believed to occur quite rarely – once in a thousand observed events – but perhaps these models should be reviewed.
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