Astronomers report second detection of gravitational waves

Astronomers report second detection of gravitational waves

In a most recent study, Northwestern University scientists demonstrated that their last year’s theoretical predictions were right. They predicted that the historic merger of two huge black holes found on September 14 last year may easily have come to existence via dynamic interactions in the star-dense core of a very old globular cluster.

The binary black holes exist in the chaotic ‘mosh pit’ of a globular cluster, thrown out of the cluster and then ultimately combined into a black hole. Known as dynamical formation, the theory is one of two known key channels of the binary black holes’ formation, found by the Advanced LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory).

The researchers said that LIGO's first detection of merging black holes was aptly consistent with the Northwestern research team’s dynamical formation model, and was what could be expected from a globular cluster.


Light isn’t emitted by colliding black holes. However, they emit a phenomenal amount of energy in the form of gravitational waves. These waves were found for the first time in September 14, and the second detection has been announced now, three months later. The events have made way for a new era in astronomy, wherein gravitational waves would be used to get more and more information about the universe.

Senior study author, Frederic A. Rasio, a theoretical astrophysicist at Northwestern, said, “Thanks to LIGO, we're not just theorists speculating anymore—now we have data. A relatively simple and well understood process seems to work. Simple freshman physics—Newton's first law of motion—explains the gravitational dynamics of the first black holes detected by LIGO”.

At a media briefing at 2:15 pm on June 15 at the summer meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in San Diego, Rasio detailed how the first LIGO detection fits into the theory of his team.


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