Astronomers have discovered a supermassive gravitational wave from a black hole that simply shouldn’t exist.
The black hole is 142 times the mass of the sun and sent the largest gravitational wave ever recorded. In total, the black hole sent out the equivalent of eight sun’s worth of energy across the universe.
Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime that can be detected from Earth. And scientists are still very much unsure how the black hole was created.
“The system we’ve discovered is so bizarre that it breaks a number of previous assumptions about how black holes form,” said Karan Jani, one of the lead researchers. “We took more than a year to confirm this alien black hole’s existence and are thrilled to be sharing this discovery with the world.”
Several theories have been raised on how the event could have occurred.
The black hole could be a primordial black hole formed near the start of the universe.
It could also have been caused by two black holes colliding into a third black hole. Which, in scientific terms, is about as likely as one person throwing a rock from Fujairah and another from Dubai and watching them collide in mid-air.
As usual with science, one discovery opens up a can of worm(holes). But it could also help solve that most fundamental of questions – who are we? And where did we come from?
“This event opens more questions than it provides answers,” said LIGO member Alan Weinstein, professor of physics at Caltech. “From the perspective of discovery and physics, it’s a very exciting thing.”
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