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Fri Jun 26, 2020, 01:13 AM

Black holes may merge with light of a trillion suns, scientists say

First optical observation made of phenomenon previously thought to occur in darkness



Hannah Devlin Science correspondent
@hannahdev
Thu 25 Jun 2020 10.25 EDT

When black holes collide, the ensuing cosmic drama was assumed to play out under the cloak of darkness, given that both objects are invisible. But now astronomers believe they have made the first optical observations of such a merger, marked by a blaze of light a trillion times brighter than the sun.

The flare was linked to a known black hole merger detected last year by the gravitational wave observatory, Ligo, which picked up ripples sent out through the fabric of space. The latest observations suggest that when these cataclysmic events occur within the accretion disk of an even more gigantic black hole, they are brilliantly illuminated by the surrounding dust and gas, making them also visible to optical telescopes.

“This supermassive black hole was burbling along for years before this more abrupt flare,” said Matthew Graham, a research professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology and lead author of the work. “We conclude that the flare is likely the result of a black hole merger.”

The authors have not entirely ruled out other sources, but Saavik Ford, a co-author based at the City University of New York, said the window of doubt was narrow. “We are 99.9% sure,” she said.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jun/25/black-holes-may-merge-with-light-of-a-trillion-suns-scientists-say

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Reply Black holes may merge with light of a trillion suns, scientists say (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 26 OP
littlemissmartypants Jun 26 #1
Judi Lynn Jun 26 #3
bobbieinok Jun 26 #2
Judi Lynn Jun 26 #4
BootinUp Jun 26 #5

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 01:46 AM

1. Thanks, Judi Lynn. I hope you are doing well. ❤ nt

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 05:55 AM

3. Absolutely, LMSP! Hope you are well, and safe. Thanks. ❤👋

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 04:27 AM

2. Thanks

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Response to bobbieinok (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 05:57 AM

4. Thanks to you, bobbie. n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 09:00 PM

5. I don't think Spock's inner eyelid would b enuf.

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