A collision in space creates a new type of black hole

For the first time in history, physicists have observed that two black holes have merged to form an intermediate-mass black hole with a mass greater than a hundred times the…

For the first time in history, physicists have observed that two black holes have merged to form an intermediate-mass black hole with a mass greater than a hundred times the mass of the Sun.

Astrophysicists have recently seen signs of the largest black hole collision ever. The result was a special type of black hole that scientists have never seen before.

The two black holes had 66 and 85 times the mass of the Sun, and calculations show that the result of the merger was a black hole with 143 solar masses.

This means that the collision has released energy equivalent to nine solar masses. Most of that energy has flowed through space in the form of so-called gravitational waves, which the sensors LIGO in the US and Virgo in Italy can measure.

Gravitational waves reveal the size of black holes

When black holes absorb each other, enormous amounts of energy are released in the form of gravitational waves that travel through space. Their intensity shows how heavy the black holes were.

1. The limit at 100 solar masses

Gravitational waves previously observed by LIGO and Virgo from black hole mergers have left a merged black hole less than 100 solar masses.

2. New merger breaks records

Analyzes of the merger of two black holes now show that they were 66 and 85 solar masses, and the result was a new 142 solar mass black hole.

The merger is not only the largest gravitational wave event observed to date, but also the most distant. The collision occurred in an area that is now 17 billion light years away from here.

However, 17 billion light years have not passed since the collision, but only seven. The universe has been said to be about half of its current size. Due to the expansion of the universe, this region is now at a much greater distance.

The massive collision between two black holes set off so-called gravitational waves that have been traveling through space for 7 billion years before being detected by the Virgo (inset) and LIGO detectors.

The discovery of a 142 solar mass black hole is important because this is the first time a black hole has been found in the so-called intermediate weight class, but according to accepted theory, such a black hole is formed by the merger of two smaller ones.

More collisions created the black hole

A smaller black hole is formed when a large star, but less than 60 solar masses, collapses. If a star exceeds this size limit, it will break apart instead of forming a black hole.

These two black holes, one 66 solar masses and the other 85, have probably formed themselves in a collision, say the scientists.

Black holes in four weight classes

1. Original black hole

Astronomers have the theory that a very small black hole the size of an atom but with the mass of a large mountain was formed in the young universe.

5. A stellar mass black hole

Formed when a star with 5-60 solar masses burns out and collapses. If the star is heavier, it will explode into ribbons instead of forming a black hole.

3. Intermediate mass black hole

Weighs between 100 and 100,000 solar masses. Formed when two or more stellar mass black holes merge into a heavier black hole.

4. Supermassive black hole

Weighs more than a million solar masses and is believed to be found deep in all nebulae. Forming as the nebula itself is taking shape.

Astronomers currently lack only evidence for the existence of the smallest black holes. According to the theory, they were formed shortly after the Big Bang and are only about the weight of one mountain. Nothing like that has been found yet.

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