'Ringing' Black Hole Could Further Support Einstein's Theory of Relativity
- September, 14, 2019 - 13:23
- Science news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – If Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity holds true, then a black hole, born from the cosmically quaking collisions of two massive black holes, should itself “ring” in the aftermath, producing gravitational waves much like a struck bell reverberates sound waves.
An analysis of gravitational waves from the first black hole merger ever detected has recorded tones which the researchers described as "ringing" -- a phenomenon predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity, The Daily Mail reported.
"Previously it was believed these tones were too faint to be detected, yet now we are able to," said study co-author of a study in Physical Review Letters and an associate professor at Stony Brook University, Will Farr, in a statement.
"Just like the measurement of atomic spectra in the late 1800s opened the era of stellar astrophysics and classifying and understanding stars, this is the opening of the era of black hole spectra and understanding black holes and the general relativity that sits behind them."
Researchers were able to discover the tones by re-analyzing data from the black hole merger classified GW150914 -- the same merger that was used in the initial discovery of gravitational waves in 2015 -- and combining it with data from other simulations of mergers.
They say that when two black holes begin to merge, the subsequent combined object begins to wobble, similar to a bell after being struck.
Those vibrations emit gravitational waves -- oscillations in space-time -- that reverberate at specific tones and eventually begin to fade as the merger stops.
While some theories posit that the ringing is contingent on the black hole's mass and vibration other scientists have posited that quantum mechanics also plays a critical role.
This year has been a particularly fruitful one for researchers looking to unlock mysteries of black holes, with the first-ever photograph taken in April.
Additionally, in a paper published in may, scientists say they verified Stephen Hawking's namesake theory, Hawking Radiation, which hypothesized that black holes emit radiation from their surfaces due to a mix of different factors regarding quantum physics and gravity.
The newest discovery of "ringing" black holes will likely help discern even more information on the phenomenon according to researchers, especially in concert with data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave, LIGO, Observatory which was the first machine to ever to detect gravitational waves.