The thing about interesting and good science is that it always leads to more questions than actual answers – and when it comes to black holes, our knowledge and our desire for more of it is always expanding.
Back on May 21st of 2019, two giant black holes banged into each other, 7 billion light-years away from Earth.
Scientists here detected the disturbance using LIGO, a pair of identical, two-and-a-half-mile-long interferometers in Italy, and they’re calling it the biggest farthest, and “most energetic” black hole merger ever.
The resulting black hole is about 142-times more massive than the sun.
The signal only lasted a tenth of a second, but scientists were excited nonetheless.
“It’s the biggest bang since the Big Bang that humanity has ever observed. It could offer clues as to why the Universe looks the way it does.”
This massive black hole is the first of “intermediate mass” ever confirmed.
Astrophysicists like K.E. Saavik Ford of the Graduate Center at City University New York thinks there is definitely more than one reason to be excited.
“It’s a bridge between the black holes that are formed directly when stars collapse and supermassive black holes that we find in the centers of galaxies. That takes many, many, many lifetimes of the universe under anything like normal circumstances, so it had to have happened in a very dense stellar environment.”
LIGO is currently offline, but the facilities will be back online soon and astronomers like Weinstein hope they’ll be able to look further into space – and farther back in time, too.
“We need to look for more exotic events like this one – and for more exotic events like nothing we have ever seen before. Wouldn’t that be great?”
I think that every science enthusiast out there – even the ones who are much more casual – can agree that it definitely would be.