A team of international astronomers has caught the merger of two black holes of unprecedented masses creating yet another massive black hole — one that astronomers believed existed in theory but that had never been detected.
The two caught in the act were roughly 85 times and 66 times the mass of the sun (measured as solar masses). After the pair merged — producing a gravitational wave picked up by detectors — they created a black hole 142 times the mass of the sun.
So far, gravitational waves — ripples in space-time caused by highly energetic processes in space, such as the merging of pairs of black holes or neutron stars or a black hole and a neutron star — typically create a sort of “chirp” noise on the detectors.
But this one, the researchers say, created more of a short-lived “bang,” producing only about five or six waveforms — which can be thought of as actual waves that oscillate. Comparatively, other gravitational-wave detections have produced hundreds of waveforms.
Due in part to its brief signal, astronomers had to ensure it wasn’t noise that was causing the suspected detection. Now that it has been confirmed, it is the first of its kind — and is shedding light on an elusive member of the black hole family: intermediate-mass black holes.
Surprises abound with discovery
There are two special parts to the findings: one, the sizes of the pair of black holes, particularly the one that is 85 solar masses; and two, the final black hole itself.
Black holes are regions in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape them. But they’re not all created equally.
According to theory, stars that are roughly 10 times the mass of the sun can die in a massive explosion — a supernova — that can produce a black hole. Stars that are roughly 65 times more massive are believed to destroy themselves. But stars that are more than 120 solar masses are believed to collapse directly into a black hole at the end of their lives.
So that means black holes between 65 and 120 solar masses shouldn’t even exist. Yet this new discovery contains two that fall within that range. The one that is 85 solar masses is particularly intriguing because it falls right in the middle.
WATCH | Simulation of binary black holes merging:
Now to the final 142 solar-mass black hole.
There are stellar-mass black holes, which astronomers believe can go up to 10 to 100 times the mass of the sun. Then there are supermassive black holes, which can be found at the centre of most galaxies. These monsters can come in at millions or even billions of times the mass of the sun.
And while there have been theories about those black holes that are 100 solar masses or higher — called intermediate-mass black holes — none have been directly observed.
“There’s been no observational evidence prior to this discovery,” Goetz said. “This is the first conclusive evidence for an intermediate-mass black hole.”
There are two leading theories as to how these seemingly impossible things have come to be. One is that two stars could have merged to produce a black hole within the 65 to 85 range. The second is that multiple black holes could have merged within a dense star cluster, creating larger black holes of differing masses.
“This is kind of exciting,” said Priya Natarajan, a theoretical astrophysicist and professor of astronomy and physics at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., whose main area of study is black holes. She was not involved with the research.
In a 2014 paper published in the journal Science, Natarajan and her colleague proposed that the creation of black holes similar to the 142 solar-mass one discovered last year could have come within a dense cluster of stars, much in the way the new discovery has been observed (though in her paper, the black hole was larger).
“The idea is one of the stars becomes a little black hole, and it starts wandering around and it’s kind of fed by the fire hose of gas [from stars]; it grows very fast,” Natarajan said. “And then it becomes massive, and it grows to about 50 times and then it sinks to the centre.
“The second guy would roll around, but it wouldn’t grow as fast because there wouldn’t be as much gas left over. And so we predict that if you make two in that way, they cannot be the same mass, they will be different … and that’s what is seen now, so that’s kind of exciting.”
While the discovery is a first, the astronomers know that they need to increase their sample size to adequately explain the existence of intermediate-mass black holes.
“We need more observations of this type of signal. So, more mergers that yield intermediate-mass black holes will help us to understand … how they’re formed,” Goetz said. “Black holes play a key role in so many aspects of astrophysics that we’re only just now beginning to understand much more deeply with these observations.”
And more importantly, they will help us understand how we got here, as black holes are key to creating much of what exists.
“It’s part of the origin story of our universe,” Natarajan said. “We may not have been here if our Milky Way did not have black holes.”
The astronomy community lit up earlier this week with news that hinted at possible signs of life on Venus. Among the most excited about the discovery were researchers at the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency, who just happened to already have spacecraft en route to Earth’s planetary neighbor.
A team of researchers using telescopes in Hawaii and Chile announced Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy that they spotted what appeared to be phosphine on Venus. Phosphine is a noxious gas that on Earth is only associated with living organisms.
While there were many caveats in linking the discovery directly to proof of life on Venus, it still set both the scientific community and the public abuzz with new wonder.
Missions to space can be costly and time consuming, but in a complete coincidence, the ESA and JAXA happened to already be planning a flyby of Venus next month as part of the BepiColombo mission to Mercury that launched in 2018.
“We are all very excited,” Johannes Benkhoff, a scientist for the BepiColombo mission, told ABC News.
“It was not expected and we would’ve never thought about looking for life on Venus using our instruments, because we are going to Mercury,” he added. “But nevertheless, when we heard about it, we were all excited and we immediately looked if we can do something.”
Benkhoff expressed some doubts that all of their equipment that was planned for exploring Mercury will end up being sensitive enough to do research into signs of life on Venus during the flyby, but said they are looking into any ways they can assist.
The purpose of these flybys for the BepiColombo mission is to de-accelerate the spacecraft so that it can stay on track to reach Mercury by 2025, according to Benkhoff.
“But of course, if we can do a little bit of science, we do that also,” he added.
Benkhoff said that the BepiColombo mission is in partnership with Japan, but they also have collaborators from the U.S. and Russia, and marveled at how exploring other planets has a way of bringing people on Earth closer together.
“That’s what I like about space,” he said. “It’s a very international community and you come together with different cultures.”
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The head of the Russian space agency has staked the country’s claim on Venus, saying this week that it is a “Russian planet.”
Dmitry Rogozin, who is the director general of Russian space corporation Roscosmos, revealed that the country plans to send its own mission to Venus.
This would be on top of an already-proposed joint venture with the United States called “Venera-D” that would include sending an uncrewed space mission to the planet in either 2026 or 2031.
Speaking to reporters at an international helicopter exhibition in Moscow on Tuesday, Rogozin said: “Our country was the first and only one to successfully land on Venus. The spacecraft gathered information about the planet — it is like hell over there,” according to The Times.
“Resuming Venus exploration is on our agenda. We think that Venus is a Russian planet, so we shouldn’t lag behind,” he added, CNN reported.
“Our hoped-for impact in the planetary science community is to stimulate more research on Venus itself, research on the possibilities of life in Venus’ atmosphere, and even space missions focused to find signs of life or even life itself in the Venusian atmosphere,” Seager said, according to CNN.
Venus is the second furthest planet from the Sun and is considered one of the hottest in our solar system.
The planet’s atmosphere is made up almost entirely of carbon dioxide and is the second brightest object in the night sky, after the moon.
The Soviet Union became the first country to successfully land a spacecraft on Venus in 1970. The Venera 7 was one of many probes to be sent to the planet and became the first to transmit data from there back to Earth.
Although it made a successful soft landing, it melted within seconds.
Its successor Venera 9 — also launched by the Russians — took the first and only image of the Venusian surface from the ground-level perspective in 1975.
The country plans to send its own mission to Venus between 2021 and 2030, Rogozin said, according to CNN.
The correct (wrong) type of solar flare may have hindered your navigation. and Radio, affecting giantTrajectory and structure correspondence.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Just when we think we know everything there is to know about the Titanic—unsinkable ship, giant iceberg, "I’m the king of the world," etc.—along comes fascinating new research that raises big questions about what really transpired on the fateful night of April 14, 1912. Did a weather fluke from space actually cause the Titanic to sink? ” data-reactid=”37″>When you think you know everything we need to know giantIt comes with exciting new research that raises big questions about what really happened on the fateful night of April 14, 1912, including an irremovable ship, a huge iceberg, and “I’m the King of the World.” Weather coincidence from space in reality giant Sinking?
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The new study's key finding is that the northern hemisphere was in the grips of a “moderate to severe” magnetic storm that night, which could have altered the Titanic’s navigational readings, affecting both its planned course and the information the crew shared about their location during SOS signals.” data-reactid=”43″>The key finding of the new study was that the Northern Hemisphere was in the grip of a “middle to severe” magnetic storm that night. giantExplore readings of affecting all planned courses and Information shared by the crew about their location during the SOS signal.
The idea is very simple. The sun is covered with sunspots, powered by an innate nuclear generator that burns at millions of degrees. These, in turn, are distinguished by massive explosions over the size of the Earth, i.e. solar flares.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“In a matter of just a few minutes they heat material to many millions of degrees and release as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT,” NASA explains. These flares are often caused by magnetic changes or crashes, and their explosions cause magnetic ripples through the solar system.” data-reactid=”45″>“In just a few minutes, it heats the material to millions of degrees and releases as much energy as billions of megatons of TNT.” NASA explains. These flares are often caused by magnetic changes or collisions, and explosions cause magnetic ripples through the solar system.
It is intuitively understandable that the hottest things in the solar system swirl and experience extreme responses to a changing magnetic field. One of the reasons Earth is a successful habitat for life is that humans have a protective magnetic field that reflects huge amounts of solar radiation and cosmic winds. Otherwise, it will blow us to the surface of a planet like the bald, lifeless Mars.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This magnetic field also shifts and changes over time, especially as the magnetic poles move around Earth’s surface. Both animals and humans have learned to rely on the magnetic poles, in the form of manmade devices like compasses as well as animals’ sense for migration and navigation. Compasses, like clocks, must be adjusted to the correct units—like accounting for magnetic north as it moves around in a normal way.” data-reactid=”47″>This magnetic field moves and changes over time, especially as the stimulus moves around the Earth’s surface. Both animals and humans have learned to rely on stimuli in the form of artificial devices such as compasses. Animal sense of movement and navigation. A compass like a watch should be adjusted in the correct units as follows: Explain magnetic north It moves in the normal way.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="It’s here that we rejoin the Titanic. Paper author Mila Zinkova has published four previous papers about the Titanic in the journal RMetS Weather, exploring a theory that mirages or other visual distortions played a part in the sinking. Now, Zinkova is using weather and space data to explore a different theory.” data-reactid=”48″>Here we are again giant. Paper author Mila Zinkova said Published 4 previous papers on giant In the journal RMetS Weather, A mirage, or other visual distortion contributed to the sinking. Now Zinkova is exploring other theories using weather and space data.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="If a solar flare is severe enough, marked on that historic night by the telltale Aurora Borealis, it can skew the Earth’s magnetic field and wreak havoc with magnetic instruments like compasses. Even today, solar flares interfere with the electrical grid and space traffic, and truly precious file backups may be kept in protective Faraday cages.” data-reactid=”49″>If the solar flare is severe enough, and marked by Aurora Borealis on that historic night, it can distort the Earth’s magnetic field and cause confusion with magnetic devices like compasses. Even today, solar flares disrupt power grids and space traffic, and prevent valuable file backups. Can be stored in a protective Faraday cage..
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Zinkova posits that the impact on compasses affected the coordinates reported in distress signals. “The Titanic’s Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall worked out the ship’s SOS position. Boxhall’s position was around 13 nautical miles (24 km) off their real position,” Zinkova writes.” data-reactid=”70″>Zinkova assumes that the effect on the compass affects the coordinates reported in the distress signal. “that much Titanic 4th Joseph Box Hall located the ship’s SOS. Boxhall’s location was about 24 kilometers (13 nautical miles) from its actual location,” wrote Zinkova.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="But the rescue ship Carpathia likely had the same wrong information. “The compasses of the Carpathia could have been under the influence of the geomagnetic storm for 5.5 hours, before and after she received the Titanic’s SOS, and until she reached the lifeboats,” Zinkova continues. “Therefore, a possible combined compass error could have been one of the factors that contributed to the successful rescue of the Titanic survivors.”” data-reactid=”71″>But the rescue ship Carpathian You probably have the exact same misinformation. “Carpathia’s compass may have been affected by a geomagnetic storm. giantUntil she gets to the lifeboat, Zinkova continues. So the possible combined compass error could be one of the factors that contributed to the successful rescue of the Titanic survivors.”
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This also points to how localized the solar flare phenomenon was. Ships in a certain radius received scrambled radio calls or missed them altogether. Back on land or even outside of the affected radius, everything seemed normal except when trying to contact or be contacted by the Titanic and other ships near it.” data-reactid=”72″>This also indicates how localized the solar flare phenomenon is. Vessels in a certain radius receive scrambled cordless calls or missed them all. Everything seemed normal, even when returning to land or outside the affected radius. giant And other ships nearby.
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