Astronomers had been trying for decades to understand how black holes work. These mysterious cosmic objects are defying even the laws of physics themselves that we all bow down to. Even light itself gets engulfed by the tremendous gravity of a black hole, which is incredible. Scientists are not sure even now if light has any mass.
Astronomers had detected S190521g, a candidate gravitational wave event spotted last year in May. Such a phenomenon can be triggered by two black holes merging, and therefore distorting the fabric of space-time.
Detected by the twin LIGO facilities
The gravitational wave hit the Earth, and it triggered the detectors from the twin LIGO facilities and the Virgo observatory in Italy. Astronomers concluded that they’re dealing with two mammoth black holes that are colliding somewhere in the vast ocean of space.
Matthew Graham, who is the first author on the study, and his team found their candidate near a supermassive black hole dubbed J1249+3449. A pair of black holes collided in the giant gas disk.
Saavik Ford, who is co-author on the paper and an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, declared:
“I was initially quite skeptical,”
“This flare looked interesting, but gas disks around black holes flare all the time, and I wasn’t sure how excited to be.”
He further explains:
“The only remaining option is that it’s a brand new and very unusual kind of flare from this gas disk — a discovery that would be very interesting all by itself!”
The new study was published in the astrophysics journal Physical Review Letters, where astronomers detail the flare detected and explain why it’s connected to the merging black holes of S190521g. If further investigations confirm that astronomers had indeed been dealing with the collision of two black holes, it will be the first time anyone has detected an electromagnetic counterpart (light) that’s associated with a black hole collision.