A new study led by the California Institute of Technology has uncovered a massive, powerful cosmic event known as a gamma-ray burst. The research indicates that this burst may have come from two black holes circling each other before finally merging.
Gamma-ray bursts are the most energetic events known to occur in the universe. They are thought to occur when a massive star collapses or two black holes merge, creating an enormous release of energy in the form of gamma rays.
The new study, which was published in Physical Review Letters, suggests that the gamma-ray burst detected by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was caused by two black holes spiraling towards each other before finally merging. These black holes, located roughly 7.9 billion light-years away from Earth, were estimated to be about 85 and 66 times the mass of the sun, respectively.
Prior to their merger, the black holes emitted gravitational waves, which were detected on Earth by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in 2019. These gravitational waves allowed scientists to pinpoint the location of the black holes and determine their mass.
The researchers believe that the gamma-ray burst was emitted when the two black holes finally merged. This event would have caused a huge release of energy, including gamma rays, which were detected by the Fermi telescope.
The findings from this study provide further evidence of the connection between black holes and gamma-ray bursts. They also shed light on the physics of these powerful cosmic events and help to improve our understanding of the universe.
This research was made possible through the collaboration of multiple institutions, including the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, the University of Maryland, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The study’s lead author, Susan Scott, noted that this discovery “ highlights the importance of multi-messenger astronomy” and demonstrates the significance of combining gravitational-wave and gamma-ray observations.
In conclusion, the detection of a huge cosmic burst originating from two circling black holes provides valuable insights into the nature and behavior of these astronomical phenomena. This study serves as a reminder of the power and complexity of the universe, and showcases the capabilities of modern astronomical instruments and observations.