A New Math Shortcut That Helps Plan Black Hole Collisions


What different situations can create such a union? Researchers are unsure, as this is a newly opened frontier of the universe. But there are some possibilities.

First, astronomers can imagine a mid-mass black hole of perhaps 80 or 100 solar masses colliding with a small, large black hole about 5 solar masses.

Another possibility is a collision between a garden of a different color in the black hole and a small black hole left over from the Big Bang—a “primordial” black hole. It may have a percentage that is solar solar, while the majority black holes seen in LIGO currently weighs more than 10 solar masses.

Earlier this year, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics used the Field and Khanna internal model to look through LIGO data for signs of gravitational waves emanating from associations associated with black hole. And while they are not found, they do provide more precise limits to the possible abundance of this mental class of black holes.

In addition, nit, a planned space -based gravitational wave observatory, may one day witness the fusion between simple black holes and supermassives that are different from the centers of galaxies – some with a billion or more day. The future of LISA is uncertain; the most recent launch date is 2035, and the funding status is unclear. But if and when it launches, we can see combinations of mass ratios in excess of 1 million.

The Broken Point

Some in the field, including Hughes, describe the success of the new model as “unreasonable point-to-point effectiveness,” pointing to the fact that the model’s effectiveness at short mass ratios provides a true mystery. Why can researchers ignore the critical details of the little black hole and still come up with the right answer?

“It tells us something about underlying physics,” Khanna said, no matter what exactly that remains a source of curiosity. “We don’t have to worry ourselves about two things surrounded by events that can be distorted and communicate with each other in strange ways.” But don’t know why.

In the absence of answers, Field and Khanna try to anticipate their model in more realistic situations. In a paper scheduled to be posted earlier this summer on the preprint server arxiv.org, the researchers gave more black holes spinning, which is expected in a reasonable amount of time. Again, their model closely corresponds to those found in multiplayer simulations with mass ratios up to 3.

Next they plan to think of black holes that are closer to each other in elliptical rather than perfectly circular orbits. They also planned, along with Hughes, to introduce the idea of ​​“misaligned orbits” – cases in which black holes interrogate like each other, orbiting in different geometric planes.

In the end, they hope to learn from their model by trying to break it down. Can it operate at a mass ratio of 2 or less? Field and Khanna want to know. “One who gains confidence in a way of coming when one sees that it has failed,” he said. Richard Price, an MIT physicist. “If you make an estimate that gets surprisingly good results, you’re wondering if you’re somehow cheating, unknowingly using a result you wouldn’t have reached. If Field and Khanna had pushed theirs. model to the point of being broken, he added, “if you only knew that what you were doing was not fraud – that you only had one estimate that would work better than you expected.”

Original story also printed with permission from Quanta Magazine, an independent editorial publication of Simons Foundation whose mission is to improve public understanding of science by embracing research developments and trends in mathematics and in the physical and life sciences.


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