Things get really weird, really fast, if you throw three black holes into a disk around a black hole.
Scientists are still trying to understand a strange event that they observed in May of 2019. The mergers of black holes cause ripples in space-time. The black hole in the mid-size range that scientists can barely see, and some force was stretching the typically circular dance as the behemoths approached each other, were not in line with other collisions scientists have caught.
The most surprising discovery to date is the gravitational wave event. Imre Bartos, a physicist at the University of Florida and co-author on the new research, said that the black holes appeared not to have a circular orbit leading up to the merger. The date that the signals were observed is known as the date they were observed.
The 10 craziest things we learned about black holes in 2021.
Scientists suspected that the merger occurred in a pocket of space with black holes. There are two types of black holes. A stellar black hole can be a dozen times the mass of our sun. Black holes can contain millions of times the mass of their puny counterparts and can be found at the center of some galaxies.
An intermediate black hole, a size category that ranges from 100 to 1,000 times the mass of the sun, was the result of the May merger. Scientists were not able to explain how such an object might form. Astronomers suggested that one of the black holes colliding was the result of a collision and pushed the final product into the intermediate range, which is 142 times the mass of the sun.
The astronomer proposed that the event occurred near a super massive black hole in a galaxy, where smaller black holes could grow.
The new research supports that suggestion.
The scientists wanted to understand how the two black holes were not circling each other as they collided. Astronomers thought that the huge forces involved in black holes colliding should have forced them onto circular paths.
Physicists are behind the new research. Their calculations suggested that three black holes at random were unlikely to collide, but when they looked at the environment of an active galactic nucleus, something changed.
The disk of matter surrounding the black hole is similar to a model of the solar system. New research shows that the solar system has a two-dimensional system with stellar black holes scattered throughout the disk.
The probability of an eccentric merger in the models shot up as much as 100 times under those conditions, according to the statement. The exceptional observation of May 2019: half of mergers in the disks of active galactic nuclei would be eccentric rather than circular, is less surprising at that rate.
Smaller black holes can't exist in these environments because of the high density of black holes and the high velocities.
The researchers noted that the probability of eccentric mergers in their model varies with the disk surrounding the black hole. They said that they will be analyzing more black hole collisions.
The paper was published in the journal Nature.
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