Space

Gravitational wave black holes may have formed inside a single titanic star

Gravitational wave black holes...
Astronomers theorize that the black holes at the center of the recent gravitational wave event were created in a single star
Astronomers theorize that the black holes at the center of the recent gravitational wave event were created in a single star
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Astronomers theorize that the black holes at the center of the recent gravitational wave event were created in a single star
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Astronomers theorize that the black holes at the center of the recent gravitational wave event were created in a single star

The detection of a gamma-ray burst by NASA's Fermi Space Telescope a fraction of a second after the first ever recorded instance of a gravitational wave has led scientists to theorize that the dual black holes at the heart of the phenomenon formed inside a single colossal star.

Gravitational waves were first theorized as part of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, and a confirmed observation of the phenomenon opens up an entirely new window through which to observe the Universe.

A mere 0.4 seconds after the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected the telltale signal of gravitational waves, the Fermi telescope recorded a powerful gamma-ray burst emanating from the same general region as the source of the waves.

The dual discovery has led scientists to theorize that the two black holes believed to be the source of the gravitational wave event formed in the heart of a single massive star. The huge star is believed to be the result of an earlier stellar merger, which saw two separate bodies orbit one another with incredible speed, until they merged to form a single ultra-fast rotating star.

It is believed that the star's terrific rotational speed caused the core of the stellar giant to split into two clumps, each of which spawned a black hole separated by a distance roughly the equivalent of the diameter of the Earth. Within minutes the black holes – one 29 times the mass of the Sun and the other 36 times – are thought to have merged, and started consuming the mass of our Sun once every second as the star's outer envelope fell inwards.

The dramatic death of the star culminated in the release of the gamma-ray burst and gravitational waves. Should further gamma-ray bursts be discovered alongside future gravitational wave events, astronomers believe that the bursts could be used to accurately measure vast cosmic distances in much the same way that "standard candle" supernovae are used. These measurements may in turn lead to a greater understanding of the expansion of the Universe.

Source: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

4 comments
hgdorsey
Usually gravitational phenomena require very large masses. However the electric force is many magnitudes of order greater than the gravitational force. So, wouldn't it be convenient if gravitational fields could be generated electromagneticly?
Well, it just so happens that there are methods of conversion between gravity and electromagnetism, which were experimentally discovered by Thomas Townsend Brown in the 1920's and perhaps earlier by Nikola Tesla. However, the work of these two men seem to be forbidden subjects at our universities.
Two books that explains the theory and technology of electrogravity are, "Secret Science and the Secret Space Program" and "The Covert Colonization of Our Solar system".
Douglas Bennett Rogers
A very high field laser and gravity wave detector might be able to test electrogravity. Test variable would be the vacuum speed of light.
Ross Jenkins
That's really interesting HgDorsey. I'm thinking warp drive..?
What I fascinating about those two observations is that the gravitational wave was detected first. So does that mean those waves are traveling at the speed of light? I can understand that the gamma burst might be slowed down by matter, or perhaps the very gravity of the newly created singularity slightly slowing the escape velocity of the gamma rays. Whats most fascinating is the fact the mass of matter between us and the observation didn't create resistance to those gravitational waves, thus slowing them down also. Which leads me to speculate whether or not mass can be ignored when enough energy is poured into that conversion method. leading to some method of manipulating gravity?? sounds far out there.
Don Duncan
I thought nothing could escape a black hole. So how is it gravity waves and gamma waves get out?