Gravitational waves from black hole collision detected


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Three Earth gravitational wave observatories have detected the waves coming from the same collision of two black holes.

The collision was observed Aug. 14 at 10:30:43 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) using the two National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, and the Virgo detector, funded by CNRS and INFN and located near Pisa, Italy.

The detection by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Virgo collaboration is the first confirmed gravitational wave signal recorded by the Virgo detector.

Based on the data obtained, they estimate that the two black holes 25 and 31 times the mass of the Sun and are about 1.8 billion light years away.

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4 comments

  • Max

    I’m not convinced of the science. The last Black hole collision was 2/10 of a second, at a L5, which is just above the threshold for detecting, found during maintenance.
    If I remember right, inside the event horizon, black holes stop time to our frame of reference. Collision between two black holes would occur painfully slow, taking centuries.
    Perhaps new news and timely discoveries are inspired by funding, as found at the bottom of the article.

    “The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I support science. I am just skeptical of government support. I have heard of those who get these grants are not always ethical. Political thought or position is taken into consideration before funding is given. Competition for grants or renewal is difficult especially when it comes to a no-win situation like proving global warming, and they’re desperate to find ways to keep their funding and will do anything, say anything. It is my sincere hope that this is not the case here.
    If the scientific method, with advancement in technology, the reproduction of the evidence continues, I may be persuaded. Until then I remain skeptical. The devil is in the details.

  • wayne

    Max–
    I have to quibble with this–
    “Collision between two black holes would occur painfully slow, taking centuries.”
    –As you note–depends on what reference-frame you are observing. From our standpoint, if they get close enough, they will merge. Everything inside the event-horizon, is lost to us.

    Everything else you mention–good stuff!

  • Edward

    Max wrote: “If I remember right, inside the event horizon, black holes stop time to our frame of reference. Collision between two black holes would occur painfully slow, taking centuries.

    When an object goes faster, then what we see is not the object itself slow down but the timeframe of that object slow down. For instance a spacecraft accelerating into a black hole would still appear to us to be going very fast, but the onboard clock would appear — to us — to be moving slower. We would still see a fast moving spacecraft enter the event horizon at high speed. Once inside the event horizon, it would still be going very fast, but we would not be able to see it. We don’t know exactly what happens inside the event horizon, but forces still seem to work the same and our sensors detect something.

    We sense a disturbance in the gravitational force.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKu7TYWNxqA (11 seconds)

  • wayne

    Edward-
    Great stuff!

    I’m reminded of one of “Zeno’s Paradoxes,” (if my memory is working correctly today, its all OEM hardware) wherein he “proves” a falling object can never hit the ground. (It has to travel 1/2 the distance, then 1/2 of the remaining distance, and so on and so forth, ad-infinitum…)

    Tangentially– Dr. Penrose does an excellent job, with his space-time diagrams, of visually illustrating how the light-cones within an event-horizon, curve back on themselves.

    I’ll see your ‘disturbance in the gravitational-force,’ and raise you a ‘something-is-going-to-happen’…

    “Something is going to happen…” (aka… it’s all very clear to me now…)
    2010 (the Movie)
    https://youtu.be/yM25-lz1Yms
    (0:37)

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