Space-time rip­ples forged in the heart of our Milky Way

Gi­ant black holes may be hav­ing a pre­vi­ously un­known in­flu­ence on other black holes and grav­i­ta­tional waves

All About Space - - Launch Pad -

A new study sug­gests grav­i­ta­tional waves are cre­ated by black holes in the cen­tre of most gal­ax­ies. Ac­cord­ing to Joseph Fer­nan­dez, a PhD stu­dent at Liverpool John Moores Univer­sity, mas­sive black holes can change the or­bits of bi­nary black holes – that is, those which or­bit around each other in pairs.

When this hap­pens, the black hole bi­nary sys­tems become tight and ec­cen­tric, forc­ing them to merge much faster than they oth­er­wise would. This, Fer­nan­dez the­o­rises, leads to ob­serv­able grav­i­ta­tional waves. It could also, a state­ment sug­gests, flip the bi­nary sys­tem or­bital plane, mak­ing the black holes or­bit in the op­po­site di­rec­tion to their ini­tial con­di­tions.

The study goes some way to ex­plain­ing how black hole merg­ers form by pulling them into very close or very ec­cen­tric or­bits in or­der to col­lapse in a way that makes grav­i­ta­tional waves (small rip­ples in space-time that spread through­out the uni­verse) much more ob­serv­able.

Sagit­tar­ius A* is the black hole at the cen­tre of the Milky Way

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