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Gravitational waves from black hole collision detected

The waves were produced by the merger of black holes seven and 12 times the mass of the Sun and left behind a final black hole 18 times the mass of the Sun

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Representative image. (Photo courtesy: Keio University)
Representative image. (Photo courtesy: Keio University)

Scientists have yet again detected - ripples in the fabric of space and time - produced by the merger of two light black holes about a billion light-years away from the Earth.

The waves were produced by the merger of black holes seven and 12 times the mass of the Sun, and left behind a final 18 times the mass of the Sun.


This means that energy equivalent to about one solar mass was emitted as during the collision.

This event, detected by detectors on June 8 this year, was actually the second binary merger observed during (LIGO)'s second observation run since being upgraded in a programme called Advanced

However, its announcement was delayed due to the time required to understand two other discoveries: a three-detector observation of from another binary merger on August 14, and the first-ever detection of a binary neutron star merger in light and on August 17.

GW170608 is the lightest binary that and Virgo detectors have observed and so is one of the first cases where black holes detected through have masses similar to black holes detected indirectly via electromagnetic radiation, such as X-rays.

This discovery will enable astronomers to compare the properties of black holes gleaned from gravitational wave observations with those of similar-mass black holes previously only detected with X-ray studies, and fills in a missing link between the two classes of observations.

Despite their relatively diminutive size, GW170608's black holes will greatly contribute to the growing field of "multimessenger astronomy," where gravitational wave astronomers and electromagnetic astronomers work together to learn more about these exotic and mysterious objects.

The and Virgo detectors are currently offline for further upgrades to improve sensitivity.

Scientists expect to launch a new observing run next year, though there will be occasional test runs during which detections may occur.

First Published: Sun, November 19 2017. 15:55 IST
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