Scientists confirm another 44 black hole mergers detected by gravitational waves

Scientists have now confirmed that since the first detection of a gravitational wave five years ago they have detected another 44 black hole mergers in the same manner.

A global network of scientists has completed the first major analysis of gravitational wave data, providing exciting insights into some of the most exotic objects in the Universe. “We are announcing the discovery of 44 confirmed black hole mergers, which is a more than a four-fold increase in the number of previously known gravitational-wave signals,” says Shanika Galaudage from Australia’s Monash University, who was part of the research team.

…Their results are described in a trio of papers on the pre-print server arXiv. The first paper describes 39 new detections from the first half of the observing run, primarily of binary black hole systems. This brings the total number of gravitational wave events detected to 47, of which 44 are confidently double black holes, two are confidently double neutron stars, and one is still uncertain.

They think they are detecting more black hole mergers because they are heavier and thus emit bigger and more easily detected waves. They are also finding that the black hole mergers fall into two classes, two holes spinning in the same direction and two holes spinning in opposite or randomly different directions. The former formed together as a binary star system. The latter formed independently and somehow ended up linked up and merging.